Star-Nosed Mole Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

The star-nosed mole is a very unique animal. In this lesson you'll learn all about this strange creature, including why it has a star on its nose! Read on to find out what the star is used for and other interesting facts about the star-nosed mole.

Fastest Eaters on the Planet!

Have you ever watched a food-eating contest where people try to eat the most hot dogs or chicken wings in a certain amount of time? Well, compared to the star-nosed mole, people are really slow eaters! Even the champions of those eating contests are much slower than this strange looking creature. The star-nosed mole is the fastest eater on planet Earth! Let's learn more about this strange creature.

What IS that thing?

When you first see a star-nosed mole, you might think you're looking at a creature from a science fiction movie. They look so strange that most people don't think they're real - but they are! They are small mammals with short dark hair, that are usually about six to eight inches long. What makes them look so strange is that they have a really unusual nose; it almost looks like there's a small octopus sticking on their faces.

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That funny-looking nose is very handy, though. The star-nosed mole is able to smell and touch through its tiny, hairless nose. There are 22 rays sticking out from each nostril, and each of these rays is very, very sensitive - there are about 30,000 Eimer's organs coming out of these rays. The Eimer's organs are touch sensors that help the star-nosed mole feel what's in front of it.

We usually touch things with our hands; the star-nosed mole uses its nose! Its tiny little nose is only the size of one of our fingertips, but has almost twice as many touch sensors as both of our hands put together.

Finding Food

Because the star-nosed mole doesn't have very good eyesight, the rays and Eimer's organs help it figure out what's in front of it. It keeps its rays going all the time as it moves through the dirt underground, searching for its food. By doing this, it can touch up to 12 different places in one second!

Star-Nosed Mole

Believe it or not, the star-nosed mole can smell underwater. A star-nosed mole will blow air bubbles that go out into the water, and then suck the bubbles back into its nose so it can smell things nearby.

When the star-nosed mole does find something good to eat, it doesn't waste any time; it can find and eat four insects or worms every second! Star-nosed moles are carnivores, which means they eat other animals. Mostly, they eat invertebrates, which are animals without backbones. For example, they eat a lot of earthworms and insects that can be found around water, such as the larvae of beetles, caddisflies, midges, dragonflies, and damselflies, before they are able to fly.

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