An unusual nose turns this tiny critter’s underground habitat into a field-of-plenty.
Like other moles, the star-nosed mole lives underground in burrows feeding on invertebrates like earthworms.
It can’t see very well so it uses its remarkable nose to hunt. Each of the 22 appendages that make up the star is covered with tiny, sensitive projections known as Eimer’s organs.
In total, the star-nosed mole has 25,000 of these mechanoreceptors, equipping it with perhaps the best sense of touch of any mammal.
With this nose, the mole can examine the tiniest details in its subterranean environment allowing it to recognize and feed on tiny insects that are otherwise overlooked by its competitors.
But that’s not all. This mole’s teeth resemble tweezers, so that it can efficiently extract prey out of the ground at lightning speed.
It is the fastest-eating mammal on Earth; the star-nosed mole can find and eat prey in as little as 120 milliseconds.