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 (hedgehogs, shrews, moles and others)  


Talpidae (shrew 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  








Visitor Videos

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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

  Star-nosed Mole
Epic Wildlife

Published on Aug 19, 2014

One of the world's weirdest creatures, this strange animal is the star nosed mole and has an ability that's so unique that it could help save thousands of people very year.

Even without the pink fleshy star on the tip of its nose, the Star Nosed Mole is still a weird looking creature. Its long, dark brown, covered in water repellant fur and has big scaly feet for fast digging.

Another strange fact about this bizarre beast is that during the winter its tail swells up with actual fat up to 4x's its normal size.

You'll find this mammal hanging out in wet low land areas of Canada and the North Eastern Part of the United States but it prefers to stay under ground as it's pretty much blind but don't feel bad, as this little guy has the best sense of touch of any mammal in the world.

That pink star shape on its nose is made up of 22 fleshy tentacles that each has about 25,000 touch receptors..and it's called Elmer's Organs.

The mole hunts its prey in the water.

It inhales and blows out really fast air bubbles underwater which allows it to track small fish, worms and other tiny aquatic type animals.

The tentacles move with lightning speed and can touch as many as 12 objects per second and are believed to detect electrical fields as animals move through the water, this allows the mole to quickly identify what's for dinner, and whatever that is, they don't stand a chance.

So what's so special about this Star Nose Mole.

Research has shown that their nose is designed in such a way that it's PERFECT for detecting earthquakes.

Scientist are currently studying just how fast and accurate this mole's ability is so that it can help with the structural design for building for advanced machines.

Check out Michael Simon's Music Channel

Learn How to Survive an Earthquake

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  NATURE | The Beauty of Ugly | 22-Tentacled Nose | PBS

Uploaded on Nov 12, 2007

See the full episode at

The star-nosed mole's 22 fleshy tentacles are super-sensitive to touch and allow it to hunt 14 times faster than its competition. "The Beauty of Ugly" aired on PBS Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 8pm E.T. (check local listings). The globetrotting ugly pageant reveals the vital functions behind the vile features of vultures, bats, tapeworms, and many others.

Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham narrates the film, part of the 28th season of NATURE, the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series produced by Thirteen in association with WNET.ORG for PBS. Major corporate support provided by Canon U.S.A. Inc. For more information, visit

  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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  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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