star-nosed mole

(Condylura cristata)

Conservation Status
star-nosed mole
Photo by Gerry G
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Star-nosed mole is a relatively common but seldom seen New World mole. It occurs in North America from Newfoundland to Pennsylvania, west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina. It is less common in Minnesota, where it is at the western extent of its range.

The fur (pelage) is coarse, thick, and dark brown or black with no silvery sheen.

The tail is hairy, 3 to 3½ long, and constricted near the body.

The front feet are as long as broad. The palms face outward.

The eyes are small, about the size of a pinhead, but apparent, not covered by skin. There are no external ears. The nose is pink and is surrounded by 22 pink, fleshy, finger-like projections, giving it a star-like appearance.




Total length: 6 to 8

Head and body: 4½ to 5

Tail: 3 to 3½






Similar Species

  Eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is larger but has a shorter tail and so is about the same total length. The pelage is lighter and has a silvery sheen. The nose is long, naked, and pointed, and has no finger-like appendages.  

Meadows, floodplains, swamps, marshes, and peatlands. Moist soil. Usually near a water body.




They are active day and night.




3 to 4 years


Life Cycle


The female has one litter of 3 to 7 young between April and June. The offspring are independent after 3 weeks. They mature in 10 months.




Small invertebrates, earthworms, aquatic insects, mollusks, and small amphibians.


Distribution Map



7, 15, 29, 30, 76.




Relatively common

  Class Mammalia (mammals)  
  Subclass Theria  
  Infraclass Eutheria (placentals)  
  Magnorder Boreoeutheria  
  Superorder Laurasiatheria (ungulates, carnivorans, and allies)  
  Order Eulipotyphla (shrews, moles, hedgehogs, and allies)  


Talpidae (moles and desmans)  


Scalopinae (New World moles)  
  Tribe Condylurini  


Condylura (star-nosed moles)  

Subordinate Taxa


northern star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata cristata)

southeastern star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata parva)






Common Names


star-nosed mole

starnose mole










The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.

Visitor Photos

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Gerry G


Dog brought to the door Feb 23 2021

    star-nosed mole   star-nosed mole  








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Other Videos
  Mammals of the World: Star-nosed Mole

Uploaded on Dec 2, 2010

The Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata) is the 83rd species in my Mammals of the World series.

  Is This the World's Weirdest-Looking Killer? | World's Deadliest
Nat Geo WILD

Published on Mar 25, 2013

Looking like a cross between a rat and an octopus, the star-nosed mole is a good candidate for the title of world's weirdest-looking creature. Its super-senses also make it a lethal hunter.
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World’s Deadliest Predators is a new series that looks at most riveting moments of animal predation, breaking down the struggle for survival and supremacy into five action-packed episodes. Top Hunters focuses on the most feared animals in their class: animals at the top of their food chain; the hunters who are prey to no other animal. Killer Packs illustrates when predators multiply their advantage over prey by banding with others of their species to hunt. Lethal Weapons shows that the physical attributes and built-in concealed weapons have the ability to make an animal a top predator. Our Superpowers episode focuses on the animals that see, hear, and smell better than any others…and that relative to their size on are the fastest and strongest creatures on the planet. And whether it is over food, territory or sex, animals go to war within their species and against other species…Battles dissects these conflicts, from the strategy to the play-by-play. These five episodes bring together dozens of species, which are extraordinary, savage, and the World’s Deadliest Predators.

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Is This the World's Weirdest-Looking Killer? | World's Deadliest

Nat Geo Wild

  Starnose Mole (Talpidae: Condylura cristata) Dead on Footpath
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Jul 28, 2010

"Darkness within darkness--the gateway to all understanding." --Tao Te Ching Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (28 July 2010).




Visitor Sightings

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M Reigstad

Location: Ham Lake

My dog found it in my garden. Worried that it may carry disease.

  Field Notes

Location: Carver Park, Carver County

Found on path near a stream. No signs of injury. Perhaps an off-leash dog?

  Gerry G

Location: Douglas County, MN

Dog brought to the door Feb 23 2021


  Lisa Wiersma

Location: Erskine, MN (Polk County)

These are common in my backyard. I usually see them at least once a year over the last 10 years.






Created 1/23/2017

Last Updated:

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