Saturday, July 26, 2008

You're an Ugly Mole: the cryptic lifestyle of Notoryctes typhlops


As we all know, Australian mammals are shameless media tarts. But not marsupial moles. Marsupial moles live in the central Australian desert. Because they are rare and live underground, almost nothing is known about their behaviour or life cycles.

As you can see from the pictures, they look just like Mr. Mole from Wind in the Willows, if he was an albino with a backwards-facing pouch and no eyeballs.



Marsupial moles' underground lifestyles have made sight unnecessary, so over many generations their eyes have degenerated. They have small lenses left in their skin where their eyes would originally have been. They also have no external ears.

Anyone who has ever worn a pair of girls' togs to the beach would know about that annoying pocket-like bit in the groin that seems especially designed to fill up with sand. Marsupial moles don't have this problem. The entrance to a marsupial moles' pouch faces backwards so that when the mole burrows through sand, its pouch is not filled up with grit.




2 comments:

Christopher Currie said...

That is too good. Imagine that thing punting down a river on a summer's afternoon in a jaunty boater hat.

annavek said...

I am so glad you're back on this blog.