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star-nosed mole

(Condylura cristata cristata)


The star-nosed mole is readily distinguishable by the 22 fleshy appendages surrounding the nose, but it is also known to have a long tail, relatively weak forepaws, and a preference for watery habitats. The total length is 161-191 mm and it has a blackish-brown velvet-like fur coat. The female produces one litter of 3-7 young per year usually from April to June. This species is active both day and night. It is gregarious and perhaps colonial. The burrows are found in marshy or riparian areas, 3-6 cm in height, located 3-60 cm below the surface, often with an underwater entrance. Nests are located above high water flooding level, and composed of dead leaves, straw, and dead grass. This mole does much of it’s foraging underwater using the unusual appendages as sensory “feelers.” The tail of this species becomes inexplicably swollen in the winter and early spring. They are limited by the loss of suitable habitat including moist boggy soil, humus, sandy loam, marshes, and swamps, along streams.


This species is usually associated with water, and is regularly found in soft marshy ground along stream borders and wet meadows. It has a preference for damp meadows, marshes and swamps. In Virginia, this subspecies is found in the northern quarter of the state.


This species forages above ground at night. They also forage for food on the stream bottom and feed on aquatic annelids and insects as well as earthworms crustaceans and small fish.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.