Australia’s Cutest Animal Is This Weird Marsupial Mole

Rarely photographed, this tiny, eyeless, golden-colored marsupial swims under the sand Australia’s Great Desert, munching on lizards, scorpions, and other small creatures.

If you really know your animals, you might look at this little fellow and think you know what it is: an African golden mole. You would be wrong. This is a marsupial mole, one of the strangest and most mysterious animals in Australia, itself a hotbed of strange and mysterious animals. It is not, despite its name, a mole, although to be fair, neither is the African golden mole. Instead it simply looks and behaves sort of like a mole, an example of what’s called evolutionary convergence: two unrelated animals, often in completely different parts of the world, that have evolved in surprisingly similar ways.

The marsupial mole is one of the least-known animals in all of Australia, being naturally elusive and living most of its life underground. Where it lives, what it eats, how it reproduces and communicates and behaves, these are all largely unknown. But what we do know, or think we know, is real strange stuff.