Naked mole rat in exhibit

Naked Mole Rat

Scientific Name

Heterocephalus glaber

Class

Mammalia

Order

Rodentia

Range

Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia

Habitat

Savannas and grasslands

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Naked mole rat in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Shaped like tubular mice with a gnarly set of choppers, naked mole rats actually have some fur. Whiskers on their face and tail help them navigate their dark, underground tunnels, while hairs between their toes help them sweep soil. Their pink skin is nearly translucent. Almost completely blind, they rely on hearing, smell, and touch to detect vibrations and air currents. One female leads each colony and produces all the offspring. Queens produce five litters each year, with as many as two dozen pups per litter.

Interesting Fact 1

Although they are mammals, naked mole rats can't maintain their body temperature, so they huddle in large masses to slow heat loss.

Interesting Fact 2

Naked mole rats eat their own feces as a means of hormonal communciation within the colony.

Interesting Fact 3

When expanding their complex burrows, naked mole rats work in assembly lines, with a digger passing dirt back to sweepers, who pass it along to the volcanoer, who kicks it out of the tunnel.

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