In this episode we talk about the Star-Nosed Mole! Relax, unwind, and join me in the wetlands of South-Eastern Canada, where we learn all about one of the most bizarre and impressive creatures in the animal kingdom.
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hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am staff Wolff and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case it is definitely going to be a furry friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful star nosed mole this of course is a very special listener episode dedicated to Henry Audrey bow %HESITATION J. E. L. E. N. D. D. G. who wrote his or her suggestion in their review thank you all for this amazing suggestion this episode would not have been possible without you if you enjoy the podcast and would like more of it and would also like the opportunity to support the show you can go to patrie on dot com slash relax with animal facts or just click on the link that is in the description for how to request your very own episode and for the facts that were used in this episode all of that is in the description or in the show notes but you can also wait until the end of the show in which I will let you know and now we're going to begin slowing down as we prepare ourselves for our journey as always I have three exhortations for you the first is to put on a pair of rubber boots we definitely do not want to be wearing some pair of expensive sneakers here and the second thing I encourage you to do is to realize where you are perhaps carrying some tension is it in the head is it in the neck in the lakes who knows everybody is different in this regard but my all around exhortation is the same and that is to do your best cello impersonation so wherever you'd normally Kerry your attention and nobody %HESITATION how much we do not need all of that where we are going and my third exhortation to you is to give your mind permission to wonder and journey with me into the wetlands of eastern Canada with the star nosed mole resides as is quite uncommon on the show I am not required to travel very far being a Canadian myself so many times for these trips I have to make my way down to Australia or to some parts of Africa so while today we are in the wetlands of southeastern Canada we could also be in the forests or marshes or swamps basically many habitats that are near water we could also have gone to the United States what if we wanted to see a star nosed mole in the United States we wouldn't have had to go all that far they are present in the north eastern part of the United States while we are in south eastern Canada so very near one another and we can be here because the star nosed mole is a native of eastern North America they simply love moist soil it allows them to dig much easier and so places like wet meadows and clearings marshes they love all of these sorts of things and so the creature we are attempting to find it now is a small bowl now full disclosure the star nosed mole is one of the most unique looking creatures I have ever seen they have one of the strangest appearances I think of any animal that we've covered on the show so far some might even use the adjective bizarre when it comes to this creature and the reason why they are considered so peculiarly strange is because of a star shaped nose that is ringed with twenty two fleshy appendages the technical term for these appendages or raise and with these twenty two fleshy raise they will be able to navigate the world in a way that certainly we cannot they will feel their way around the soil and around the different areas that they are in a Deven employers to hunt prey and hunt prey efficiently the scientific name of the star nosed mole is the condo Laura Kray starter this took some research on my part to try to figure out why they were called this but the word consular echoes back to a Greek word that means nakal and when we think of the word knuckle it is not just referring to those on our hands but really the knuckle of any joint basically a flat part at the end of any bone and the word Christos is derived from Krista which means crested or something with these tassel like tips the used this word to refer to this golden yellow crest that is on the iris the iris is a kind of flour that has these feather like spikes that splay out and honestly looks similar to the nose of the star nosed mole and so literally translated the consular Cristante to would be something like knuckle crest or knuckle crested it is always interesting to see how researchers come up with their scientific names and now here if we look in the marsh we can actually see one right now let's go over some basic things about them before we go into the specifics of this wondrous creature the one that we're looking at right now is probably under four years old that is because they have an approximate lifespan of three to four years on average you'll notice one thing that this mole is not particularly large it will range between fifteen to twenty centimeters or about six to eight inches they will weigh about twelve pounds which is something like fifty five grams about five kilograms for those who prefer that measurement they are dark brown in color and they have these large claws at the end of their feet so now that we have got some of that group for all stuff out of the way let's dive a little bit deeper onto that knows that store or their nose is actually the most sensitive known touch organ in any mammal in the entire world it is so sensitive that it contains more than one hundred thousand nerve fibers just so we can compare that is about five times the number of touch fibers that we have in our hands and our hands are about the size of the mold to begin with and so not only do they have five times the number of touch fibers but they are extremely concentrated into a space smaller than our fingertips that makes for one really sensitive nose and researchers say that they still do not know just how sensitive the skin on the store is basically anything that they have tried has activated the neurons in the star nosed mole so they have not yet come up with such a low stimuli so as to not activate their brains all of this points to one of the most amazing organs in the animal kingdom now one thing to note is that the more actually does have eyes but if they do not see like you and die and there is a part of the store Oregon specifically in the middle which covers just a small part of the star which researchers have termed the touch full vada and this specific area is used for very detailed explorations and navigations through the world scientists say that the structure and organization of this little area is very rural logically organized and it is organized in such a way that it mimics that of other highly developed visual systems to make this a little bit more concrete it is something like when we use our allies while we are reading we cannot simply stare at the center of the page and read from top to bottom but our eyes will shift from word to word or from sentence trump to sentence chunk and in a similar way while the store knows more is navigating through their world it will constantly shifted their store to reposition that for Vega on areas that interest them Sybil though they do not see in the way that we do they do use their store in a way that is functionally similar to how we read now the amount of nerve fibers on that store is going to give them the ability to teach in such a way so as to provoke the all of all the scientific community and it is not necessarily the way they eat but the speed at which they decide and eat the star nosed mole is considered the fastest eating mammal on planet earth and that is because it can take them as little as a hundred and twenty milliseconds but on average something like two hundred and twenty seven milliseconds to identify their prey and to consume whatever it is that the retention is on it takes all of E. two milliseconds to decide if the prey is edible or not now comparing that to us this is something that is incredible if I was only given eight milliseconds to decide if something is edible or not I do not think that I would be alive very long but in the case of the star nosed mole that is no problem just for us to better understand this our reaction time on average is about two hundred and fifty milliseconds but the star nosed mole will take as little as a hundred and twenty milliseconds not only to identify the prey but to eat it that is remarkably speedy and one other really amaze zing thing about the store knows more is that they have the ability to smell under water they do after all love habitats with plenty of water with the soil is moist they have the ability to smell underwater by exhaling air bubbles onto objects were on to certain scent trails and then re inhaling those bubbles to get a sense of the scent it is always amazing when these small unsuspecting creatures that are usually buried out of sight have some of the most unique behaviors and abilities in the animal kingdom and regarding the water as well their fervor because after all they are our furry friends is actually water repellent it is something like an insulated fur coat and they will navigate through the moist soil with their little clause that they have and their close relatively speaking are fairly large that is because they have these broad feet that allow their clothes to be that way they also have a tale that is quite thin and hairy that will measure in at about one to two inches in length so that is something like one quarter of their body size in just their tail into using their broad feet there are water repellent for and the ability to smell underwater they are great swimmers and can even dive for several seconds at a time so these guys are tumblers they are swimmers today or walkers they do a toll except fly of course these creatures are mostly diurnal though they are active both during the night and during the day they will even still be active during the winter time when other animals opt not to participate they will tunnel and forage for food in the snow and even this women in cold icy streams underneath these frozen ponds the more I am learning about this critter the more I am seeing it as something like a blind terminator the star nosed mole is no joke their diet is a carnivorous diet or and insectivorous diet meaning that they each primarily insects they will eat small invertebrates so remember that invertebrates just means creatures that do not have the backbones it eats aquatic insects and mollusks small amphibians and small fish as well as worms said they do have a fairly large pool from which they choose to eat but the pool is strictly carnivorous and they do not eat really any plant material or LG or anything of the like male animals often times give us many insights into medicine or different technologies the echo location of bats and of dolphins gave us sonar for example the star nosed mole because of how sensitive their stores or researchers are currently studying them to understand more about how pain works and trying to find new treatments for chronic or acute pain now as it stands currently we do not actually know very much about how they communicate with one another the young star nosed moles will let out these high pitched sounds while the adults will make wheezing noises but exactly how that communication works and in what context it works is unknown perhaps there is a potential or current animal biologist listening here that will in the future discover the mysteries of star nosed mole communication now star nosed moles will have other star nosed mole babies in around March H. and April a single litter will generally be between two and seven star nosed moles with five being the most typical size of the litter while the adults mall that we're looking at right now is covered with this for or hair the young are completely hairless and bull weighed just one and a half grams their store will be functional at around two weeks along with their eyes and their ears they will become fully independent just within thirty days of being born and they will be able to have other star nosed moles of their own at around ten months of age now that is to say a couple of quick facts that are pretty interesting the appendages on their store move very quickly and can touch up to twelve different objects in one second now it is not yet fully understood but some researchers say that their store perhaps gives them the ability to detect electrical fields similar to how many sharks have electoral receptors that will allow them to detect those things but that is not very deeply known just yet the Guinness book of world records also lists the store knows more among the fastest hunters in the world as we learned about earlier they certainly deserve this distinction and the last interesting fact is that their nose is ideal for detecting earthquakes given how sensitive it is certain seismic changes that for us would be virtually undetectable for them might really give them an edge quite early other animals are very quick to distinguish whether an earthquake is happening or not dogs are an example of that dogs will normally sense that something is wrong or that something is coming a lot earlier than humans realize we mostly relies an earthquake is happening when everything's all already shaking but the star nosed mole with more than one hundred thousand nerve receptors will catch the hint quite early now starting in season six we are doing charities and foundations every time we cover a specific animal but in the case of the star nosed mole I could not find a single charity or organization that has to do with their well being that is because specifically it looks as though their population numbers are doing a okay and so there is no charity for me to shout out here on the star nosed mole episode and so let us move on to the name bowl what exactly does that word mean and so it is used to describe a type of the small brewing insectivorous mammal we used this definition since the mid fourteenth century indeed this perhaps a shortening of words that we no longer use anymore but maybe we should and that is the word mold war that's literally means birth thrower now looking at this little small mold but seeing how fast it burrows and tunnels giving them the distinction of birth thrower is something that I am on board with but this word was used as early as the sixteenth century as describing somebody who works in darkness but this word might go all the way back to a middle Dutch or a middle low German word it may represent an Old English word as well but so far it is unrecorded and undiscovered so suffice to say that it is really not extensively known how we caught this word very common of course in the world of etymology language is constantly changing and it is not as neat and tidy as we'd like it to be sometimes and this review comes from me read with a lot of ease double oh seven and Mary is writing all the way from Great Britain me re writes excellent podcast very relaxing and with some great and interesting facts so please I found it thank you Mary for the kind words short and to the point I so much appreciate your feedback and I'm so glad that you love the show and that you're a part of it if the show helps you and you want to give back in any way leaving a review truly is one of the quickest and most impactful things you can do for the show it gives me feedback it allows the show to get better and it allows more people to find the show to begin with and so I encourage you to do so if you so choose to request your very own episode you can do so by going to relax with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animal request tab I respond to each and everyone of you at least I do my very best to and if I ever do not reply to you please send me another message if you would like to tell me anything else you can do so by sending a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram or sending an email to relax with animal facts at G. mail dot com the resources used in this episode come from U. Rica alert dot org National Geographic dot com animalia dot the bio and a team online dot com all of those resources are in the show notes with a description so you can search to your heart's content this episode would not have been possible without their contributions what an amazing creature we have covered today some of the most smallest an unsuspecting creatures can be hiding wonderful treasures underneath the surface in the case of the store knows more literally underneath the surface these tunnels had plenty of surprises and I'm so glad that we got to learn about them today I hope you've all enjoyed this episode and I look forward to seeing you on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care