Sep 5, 2007

New Favorite

Below is the unmistakable mug of the star-nosed mole (condylura cristata). They are native to the cold environs of eastern Canada and the north-eastern US.

This creature might be my new favorite rodent (though I don't know if it can displace the naked mole-rat). Nothing seems to keep them down: they are active day and night, they are great swimmers and tunnelers, they don't bother hibernating and are even found digging in the snow and swimming in ice-covered streams.

But let's focus on those worm thingies radiating from its nose. There are 22 of them, and each one is mobile and packed with sensors that allow the mole to locate and identify food in a flash. In fact, one report says that they are the world's fastest eater: they can identify and consume individual food items in only 120 milliseconds. That puts my little brother to shame.

Thanks for the link, Karen. You have an eye for ugly.

Photo source:


Booge said...

Okay, now this makes him even uglier. See him exhale air underwater and suck it back up again. Makes me think of kids who blow snotbubbles for fun.
What I really want to see is the tentacles moving independently!

pkeli said...

I couldn't quite figure out booge's comment about the snot bubbles until I read the Wikipedia link. Yes, like snot bubbles!! Very cool...

What I liked though was the description of the way the tentacles grow. That hit my creep-out/fascination button. A banana???

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, you don't have to replace the naked mole-rat - this guy isn't in Order Rodentia. He's in Order Soricomorpha. Whatever that is. :D

bats said...

Dang take a mammalogy class 20 years ago, and they change the Order on you! In my day, these little guys were members of the Order Insectivora, bunched up with shrews and hedgehogs and tenerics. Well, those wacky dudes who split and lump reordered things (probably for the best, even though I'm out in the cold), and meg's right with this new Order Soricomorpha. Not a rodent.
(And you can even have a hedgehog, since those guys have their own Order, too!)
That is a rockin' photo of a star-nosed mole - I have a similar one matted and framed!

Raging Wombat said...

I'm relieved that the naked-mole rat hasn't been displaced. Now I can move on. :)

Jack Ruttan said...

Too many orders for these little rodent-like thingies. What are those mammalogists trying to pull, anyways?