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Naked Mole-Rat

Naked Mole-Rat Facts

Size Up to 3.9 inch (10 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight Up to 1.7 oz (50 g)
Lifespan Up to 30 years
Food Roots, tubers
Predators Snakes
Habitat East Africa
Order Rodents
Family Mole rats
Scientific name Heterocephalus glaber
Characteristics Hardly any body hair, long teeth

Main Characteristics

Naked Mole-Rats are small rodents that live in underground burrows.

Naked Mole-Rat Photo: belizar/Shutterstock

Diet

Naked mole-rats eat their own feces. This is disgusting, but it makes sense: It helps them to ingest the nutrients from those roots and tubers they could not digest completely at the first go.


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Anatomy and Appearance

Are They Really Naked?

Naked mole-rats owe their name to their appearance. Yet, they are not as naked as it might seem. They are covered with very fine hair, so that parasites cannot cling to their bodies.

Teeth

The teeth of the naked mole-rat sit outside the mouth. This enables the animal to dig with lips closed so that the soil cannot enter its mouth. In addition, the teeth can be moved individually.

Behavior

Social Life

Naked mole-rats live in colonies of 20-300 animals. Their communities follow strict rules: There are workers that construct the underground passages. “Soldiers” watch out for enemies and the queen is responsible for the offspring. Apart from the naked mole-rats, only insects such as bees, ants, termites, and wasps live together in colonies like this.

Sounds

Naked mole-rats use up to 18 different sounds that sometimes resemble the twittering of birds. This is their way to communicate with other naked mole-rats in their colony.

Senses and Abilities

Breathing Underground

Naked mole-rat have very small lungs, but are very good at absorbing oxygen in their blood. The naked mole-rat also breathes slower to optimize the distribution of oxygen in the body.


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Naked Mole-Rat Photo: belizar/Shutterstock

Life Expectancy

The little rodents can become up to 30 years old. This is a record, because mice, rats, and hamsters have a significantly shorter life expectancy.

Fun Facts

Naked Mole-Rat Celebrity

Are you familiar with the Disney cartoon Kim Possible? The clumsy Ron Stoppable keeps a naked mole-rat as a pet, because his father is allergic to animal hair. The naked mole-rat is called Rufus, lives in Ron’s trouser pocket and loves its nachos with a cheese dip.

The Naked Mole-Rat Is Related To:

Animals in the Same Biome:


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