Friday, September 2, 2016



Donald A. Windsor

We have two species of moles in Chenango County, the Hairy-tailed Mole (Parascalops breweri) and the Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata). Both have hairy tails, but the Star-nosed has a long one. It also has a unique nose – 22 tentacle-like appendages surround its snout.

On Sunday 28 August 2016, we Bullthistle Hikers saw a dead Star-nosed Mole on Waldon Road in the Town of Smithville. It did not show any signs of trauma; it was just dead.

My notepad is 2 7/8 inches across. John Carhart measured the beast. It was 4 inches snout to tail and the tail was2 ¾ inches. John's close ups of the snout appear below.

This is our second Star-nosed in Smithville. The previous was on 2 October 2011 on State Route 41 through the Long Pond State Forest. It was smashed roadkill. On 15 March 2009 we encountered a live one running around on the grassy dam at Balsam Pond in Pharsalia. We enjoyed great views.

Star-nosed Moles live in moist soil, often near water. They eat earthworms and other invertebrates. They are good swimmers and can catch and eat small fish in muddy waters. The tentacles are sensitive tactile receptors and can sense electrical fields underwater.

Reference consulted:

Reid, Fiona A. Star-nosed Mole. In: A Field Guide to Mammals of North America North of Mexico. 4Th Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 2006. Pages 389-390, Plate 34.