11. February 2005 · Comments Off on I Wonder If It Ever Gets Indigestion? · Categories: Science!

I thought I could eat fast. But I don’t hold a candle to the Star-Nosed Mole:

Star-Nosed Mole

The star-nosed mole gives a whole new meaning to the term “fast food.”

A study published this week in the journal Nature reveals that this mysterious mole has moves that can put the best magician to shame: The energetic burrower can detect small prey animals and gulp them down with a speed that is literally too fast for the human eye to follow.

It takes a car driver about 650 milliseconds to hit the brake after seeing the traffic light ahead turn red. The star-nosed mole, operating in the Stygian darkness of its burrow, can detect the presence of a tasty tidbit, such as an insect larva or tiny worm, determine that it is edible and gulp it down in half that time.

“Most predators take times ranging from minutes to seconds to handle their prey,” says Kenneth C. Catania, assistant professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt, who conducted the study. “The only things I’ve found that come even close are some species of fish,” he says.

Perhaps I could enter one in next year’s Philidelphia Wing Bowl. 🙂

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