Looking like a cross between a rat and an octopus, the star-nosed mole is a good candidate for the title of world's weirdest-looking creature. Its super-senses also make it a lethal hunter.
But perhaps the most impressive nose in the animal kingdom...is also the most fantastic...because of what surrounds it.
The owner lives below ground in a world of perpetual darkness...surrounded by the crawling creatures on which it preys.
Down here, eyes and ears are meaningless, and touch...is everything.
This is the realm of the star-nosed mole.
It gets its name from the 22 appendages or "feelers" that surround its nose.
Each feeler is covered with thousands of sensory receptors called Eimer's organs that make the "star" one of the most ultra-sensitive organs of any in the animal kingdom.
It's so sensitive it can detect minute particles, like a grain of salt, buried in a pile of sand.
The mole lives on worms, insects and small fish.
The outer tentacles probe for a potential meal, then the inner sensors determine if the prey is edible.
The mole is practically blind.
To better "see" it presses its feelers to the ground, which transmits a three-dimensional picture of the terrain back to its brain...like a mental sonogram.
And when it presses down its feelers, it does it at warp speed.
One of its favorite meals—earthworms.
For the star-nosed mole, the worm's telltale segments and hooks are a dead give away.
But to find it, the mole has to touch it.
Its amazing, ultra-sensitive feelers have rewarded it with yet another meal...to be enjoyed in the darkness of its creepy, super-powered world!