This Very Strange Looking Creature Can Smell Underwater

Samuel Reason | May 1st, 2018

Known as the Star-nosed mole, it is one of the oddest looking mammals to roam the planet. That funny shaped nose is actually used for a very special skill: the ability to smell underwater. With no vision, this semi-aquatic mammal needs an advantage when it comes to finding his food.

Sniffing brings in molecules in the air around our nose, this allows animals and humans to smell scents. Try this underwater though and you will find yourself quickly drowning, the star-nosed mole though has found a way to beat the odds and safely sniff in the water.

Its snout is a ring of 22 little tentacles, that are filled with touch sensors, with this super nose the mole looks for worms to eat. But the star-nosed mole does not just dig underground, they are also very capable swimmers looking for food in lakes and streams. Once underwater their nose starts to be used in a very different way.

Kenneth Catania from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, took a very high-speed video of a mole while hunting underwater. He noticed that the mole was breathing as quickly as a rat, blowing out a tremendous amount of bubbles. He made up a theory that it was quickly blowing out bubbles and re-inhaling them. This would allow the mole to follow airborne scents even when underwater.

To test his theory he placed a food scent that led to food but kept the trail covered by a steel grid. When the moles could blow bubbles through the steel grid, they could very easily find the food at an accuracy of 85%. However, when he made the grid too small to allow their bubbles to pass through, then the mole’s accuracy at locating the food dropped suddenly by 50%.

A very cool skill for the animal that already holds the Guinness book of world record for being the fastest eater. It is not alone though, with this skill, other semi-aquatic animals like the water shrew are also able to sniff underwater.

Next Article
  • The Isolator Possibly The Strangest Helmet Ever Created

    In 1925 a rather bizarre invention appeared called the isolator, apparently a helmet that would improve focus and concentration. The wearer would become completely deaf as it engulfed their head completely and even had its own oxygen supply. When wearing the isolator concentration helmet, your vision would also be very...

    Read More
  • Giant Artificial Glaciers Growing In The Desert

    One smart engineer from a small remote village in Indian has put his engineering skills to the test and decided to counter-effect the problems being caused by global warming. A global and immense problem for one engineer to tackle, but Sonam Wangchuk is up for the fight. His solution is very simple, create artificial glaciers...

    Read More
  • The Flower That Will Kill You With A Smile

    When one hears the phrase satanic grin, you may think of the DC Comics The Joker’s laugh as he executes a deadly plan. That sardonic grin is well known across the whole world, a grin that comes hand in hand with death. The corners of your mouth go up really far on each side and...

    Read More
  • The Deadly Dynamite Tree

    There is actually a tree that exists covered in poisonous spikes which is capable of dropping exploding dynamite fruit on your head. And to make matters worse the explosions launches spikes & seeds to launch out into the air at over 150 miles per hour, sending them a good 100 feet. ...

    Read More
  • Two Chinese Woman Jump Off A Bridge To Decide True Love

    A young man was put to the test and found himself facing a very difficult situation, his current girlfriend and ex-girlfriend jumped off a bridge to find out who he would save. To say he was confused that two grown women had thrown themselves into a river would be an understatement, but that is what...

    Read More
  • The Raptor Of The Skies That Views Humans As Prey

    For most people living in the western world or any relatively urban area, being eaten by an animal sounds like a story you would only read about in Africa. It sounds like a story that would only happen in a horror tale or during a fantasy story. But not so long ago, being eaten by...

    Read More
  • The Australian Bushranger Who Was A Master Prison Escapist

    One Australian bushranger by the name of Joseph Johns had a very interesting talent: no cell or prison could hold him. In fact, he escaped from prison on so many occasions the authorities became frustrated and built him a special cell that was tailored to keep him inside. The governor even came and checked the...

    Read More
  • Romania Home To The Living And Growing Rocks

    These mysterious rocks that appear to be living entities in Romania continue to grow & grow, defying all the odds and confusing biologists around the world. They really do appear to be something that is impossible: stones that move and grow. Locals refer to them as Trovants and they have confused experts all around the...

    Read More