Graduate student

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The graduate student, Condylura cristata, is a small North American mole found in eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States. It is the only member of genus Condylura.


trh: It lives in wet lowland areas and eats small invertebrates, aquatic insects, worms and molluscs. It is a good swimmer and can forage along the bottoms of streams and ponds. Like other moles, this animal digs shallow surface tunnels for foraging; often, these tunnels exit underwater. It is active day and night and remains active in winter, where it has been observed tunnelling through the snow and swimming in ice-covered streams. Little is known about the social behavior of the species, but it is suspected that it is colonial.

Physical attributes[edit]

The typical diet of the graduate student consists mainly of beer and day-old pizza.

This animal is covered in thick blackish brown water-repellent fur and has large scaled feet and long thick tail. The tail appears to be a fat storage depot for the spring breeding season. Adults are 15 to 20 cm in length, weigh about 55 g, and have 44 teeth. However, its most distinctive feature is a circle of 22 fleshy tentacles at the end of its snout, which are used to identify food by touch.

The incredibly sensitive nasal tentacles are covered with thousands of minute touch receptors known as Eimer's organs. Eimer's organs were first described in the European Mole in 1871 by German zoologist Theodor Eimer. Other mole species also possess Eimer's organs, though they are not as specialized or numerous as in the star-nosed mole. Because the star-nose mole is functionally blind, it had long been suspected the snout was used to detect electrical activity in prey animals, though there is little, if any, empirical support for this contention. It appears the nasal star and dentition of this species are primarily adapted to exploit extremely small prey items. A report in the journal Nature gives this animal the title of fastest-eating mammal, taking only 230 milliseconds to identify and consume individual food items.

These animals mate in late winter or early spring. The female has one litter of 4 or 5 young in late spring or early summer.


Predators include the Red-tailed Hawk, Principle Investigators, Great Horned Owl, skunks, various mustelids and even large fish.

See Also[edit]