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Mole, star-nosed

Star-nosed moles (Condylura cristata) are distinctive mammals with a bizarre set of tentacles surrounding the nose. The 22 tentacles are extremely sensitive to touch and to electrical impulses and allow the moles to find and identify their invertebrate prey without using sight. This multifunctional 'star' is also used to keep soil and food from entering the nose. Native to eastern north America, star-nosed moles dig a network of tunnels, some as long as 270m, through poorly drained moist soil. They're also surprisingly good swimmers. The 22 tentacles on a star-nosed mole bear more than 25,000 receptive organs in a space smaller than one square centimeter. 

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