body length of C. cristata is 100-127 mm, tail length
is 56-84 mm. Adults weigh from 40-85 grams. They have dense,
coarse black-brown fur which is water repellant. Their distinctive
feature is the 22 fleshy appendages surrounding its muzzle.
These are known as rays or tentacles, which except for the two
median upper tentacles, are in constant motion when the animal
is in search of food.
C. cristata prefers muddy or damp soil in which elaborate
tunnels are constructed by compaction and pushing it to the
surface to form molehills. Some of the tunnels may
lead directly into the water. Nests are built well above the
water table and consist of dry vegetation approximately 15cm
in diameter. They are active year-round, both day and night.
In winter, they burrow through or travel atop the snow. C.
cristata is an expert swimmer and diver using all four feet
in swimming and travelling under the ice in winter.
large portion of its food is found on the bottom of streams
and ponds including aquatic insects, crustaceans, small fish
They are often found in small colonies, and the male and female
may live together throughout the winter. A single litter of
2-7 young is born in mid-April and mid-June. The nose star
is conspicuous at 3 weeks when they about two-thirds grown.
Sexual maturity occurs in both sexes at about 10 months.
C. cristata is found in Georgia and NW South Carolina
(USA) to Nova Scotia and Labrador (Canada); Great Lakes region
to SE Manitoba.