Wild Fact #958 – Mr. Sensitivity – Star Nosed Mole


Since I grew up in a mining town I figure it is about time I start looking underground for some interesting Wild Facts! Personally, I think the adaptations of the Star Nosed Mole are incredibly interesting.

If a star nosed mole walked into the optometrists, I am pretty sure they would fail any eye exam since they are typically blind.  I guess there is not much need for eyesight when you live in the dark underworld.  So how do these little critters find their way around? How do they find food? Well, in the words of Tucan Sam, they just “Follow Their Nose”. That’s right, the star shaped “nose” is a super sensitive organ that allows them to detect their prey.  For the record, if I was talking about this in person, I would have used air quotes for the word nose.  Why? One, because I tend to talk with my hands and two because the nose may be considered to be more of a nose/eye/hand then just a plain old nose. I know you may think I am full of crazy talk today but just give me a second to explain.  Geez, you think you would know that I will explain myself by now.

This twenty-two appendage star can be called a nose since it is centered on the moles face and does contain two tiny nostrils. Although, it can be called an eye since it is believed that the waving of these tentacles are similar to us tracking things with our eyes. Even more proof that it is similar to the eye is the way the brain is made up in the mole.  The cortex of the brain is similar to that of an animal with eyes.  Finally and in my opinion most importantly, the nose is like a hand since it is actually 6 times more sensitive then a human hand.  This sensitivity allows the mole to feel its surroundings and find its food.  Imagine if our noses were actually our eyes and hands as well!  Just a thought, if our nose was also our eyes, how would we keep glasses on our face?

Have a great day!

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