starnosed mole (Condylura cristata cristata)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Not confirmed.
CHARACTERISTICS: The starnosed 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
furcoat. 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.
DISTRIBUTION: 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.
FOODS: 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.
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