The star-nosed mole, identifies and wolfs down its food in an average of just 227 milliseconds – less than quarter of a second.
Scientists have revealed the identity of the fastest eating mammal – the distinctly peculiar star-nosed mole.
This mole finds, identifies and wolfs down its food in an average of just 227 milliseconds – less than quarter of a second. By comparison, it takes people 650 milliseconds to brake after seeing a traffic light turn red.
“I don’t know of any other mammal that comes close to this,” says Kenneth Catania, a biologist at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, US, and lead author of the new study.
The key to the mole’s speed feasting is its odd snout, which looks like an anemone with 22 pink tentacles. But the tentacles are not used for smell – instead the mole uses them to feel around in the darkness for potential prey.
Using a high-speed video camera, Catania and his colleague Fiona Remple found that when a tentacle touched something, the mole made very quick decisions about whether that object was food or not, usually in about 8 milliseconds.