Reproduction and Life History

Star Nosed Mole EmbryoThe reproduction habits of Condylura cristata is not well known amongst scientists; this is due to this animal living, breeding and raising its young in underground tunnels (Saunders 1988). That being said, there is some insight into the way that this species breeds. The star-nosed mole is monogamous; male moles only pick one female to mate with during the mating season (Eadie and Hamilton 1956). Though little is known about how Condylura cristata actually finds a partner, it is known that the male and female pair up during the fall and stay together through the winter and into the mating season in April (Baker 1983).

The star-nosed mole begins mating during the middle of March and into April. With a gestation period of about 45 days, the new moles are born between May and the beginning of July (Baker 1983). Condylura cristata normally gives birth to one litter of offspring during the year, but if the first attempt is unsuccessful and the mating season isn’t over the pair may mate again (Eadie and Hamilton 1956). The litter produced will normally range from two to seven baby moles, with an average of five. When the offspring are born, they weigh about one and a half grams and are approximately 49 mm long (Saunders 1988). The offspring are born blind and hairless with the feelers on its nose folded up in a protective film back towards the eyes (Baker 1983). After two weeks the star unwraps and begins to function and the eyes open for the first time. The offspring are then weaned and forced out of the den around the third week (Saunders 1988). The moles become fully independent and leave their parents after about a month. At 10 months they meet sexual maturity and canStar Nosed Mole breed during the new mating season (Baker 1983).

Like reproduction habits, little is known about the lifespan of Condylura cristata. It is speculated that they live up to three or four years. This conclusion is based on the female mole only produceing one litter per year; they must live long enough to produce a sufficient number of offspring to sustain their population (Kurta 1995). They have been known to live up to two years in captivity (Baker 1983).

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