Introduction to the article
Have you ever seen a rat without hair? Are you interested in getting information about such a type of rat? If so, this article is for you. This essay will describe a unique breed called the “Naked Mole Rat.” We will notify you about its traits, habitats, and more. Moreover, you will learn about its health issues, diet, etc. They look bizarre; people do not pet them because they are not friendly with human beings and bite them.
Table of contents
- A little about naked mole rat
- The history
- Physical appearance
- The characteristics of a naked mole rat
- Diet and habitation
- Fun facts
A little about naked mole rat
The naked mole rat is a strange-looking creature that resembles an extended cocktail sausage with protruding teeth. The social structure of naked mole rats, which is relatively rare for mammals but is akin to that frequently seen in bees and termites, is known as eusocial. A single breeding female, the queen, rules these enormous underground colonies of about 80 individuals: you will get more detailed information about the naked mole rat ahead.
Specifically in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia, eastern Africa is where naked mole rats came into being. They were found in underground tunnels and caves in grassy, semi-arid environments. In the 19th century, the German biologist Eduard Rüppell found a naked mole rat for the first time. Still, he mistook it for a mutant or diseased member of another species due to its unattractive look, sagging nude flesh, and skin-piercing teeth. Before the 1950s, no one knew this animal’s unique characteristics.
There are numerous varieties of mole rats. The most well-known is the naked mole rat, whose tubular, wrinkled, hairless body resembles a little walrus or a bratwurst with teeth. In their natural state, mole rats have wrinkly, pink or grayish-pink skin that is pale purplish-brown on their backs and tails and somewhat translucent on their undersides. With growing older, this countershading seems to be gone. They can dig tunnels because of their vast incisors and the strong jaw muscles found in their short, broad heads.
Naked mole rats are not so giant. Their length is just 3 inches. Their weight is just like their size; they weigh only 1-2 ounces. The importance of soldiers is up to 2 ounces. The Queen mole is the most prominent among all the colonies, weighing 2.5 ounces. Their external hairs are visible.
On the other hand, they have very tiny ears, and some people consider them blind. Their smelling sense is very crucial for finding food. Additionally, they are susceptible to air currents and ground vibrations.
The characteristics of a naked mole rat
The lifespan of a naked mole rat can range from 10 to 30 years. Although the maximum lifespan of this rat is not determined, animals have lived under human care for up to 30 years. It is the most extended lifespan yet recorded for tiny rodents. Another important trait is that such mice remain safe from cancer. Compared to laboratory mice and rats, mole rats have a more varied and complicated social structure, ranging from solitary to highly gregarious. Some species are polygamous, and others are monogamous.
Diet and habitation
These underground rats consume plant tissues, especially the juicy tubers that many arid-area plant species produce. They don’t drink; instead, they eat to get the required water. When a group of mole rats comes across a large tuber, they usually bore through it, mainly eating the internal flesh and leaving the thin epidermis unharmed. This activity might help the plant maintain its health for a while, maybe even continue to develop, giving the colony a long-term food source. Their food contains a lot of cellulose, which is difficult to break down. Naked mole rats have highly concentrated gut flora that facilitates digesting.
You will mostly find them in eastern Africa. They always live in an underground colony, where they can find grass or plant roots in vast quantities. Since only one female breed in each big colony of naked mole rats, which are eusocial animals, most workers—both males and females—spend their whole lives supporting the territory. Mammals typically don’t have traits like these. Although colonies have up to 295 individuals, the average size of a settlement is 70.
Only a queen can produce offspring in the entire colony. A queen mates with a few specific rats, and their relationship lasts for a year. The rest of the mice take care of new babies by providing food, taking care of them, and defending the burrow system. Other females can reproduce, but they remain loyal to the queen and avoid such things.
A queen can give birth to a baby after 80 days and do it five times a year. Usually, the weight of a pup is 0.8 ounces. The queen nurses them for about a month. Once they can eat, she leaves them on their behalf. Puppies consume the feces that the staff give them on demand. In addition to giving them sustenance, this also vaccinates their digestive tract with healthy gut flora. At 3–4 weeks old, puppies start engaging in job behaviors (such as digging, sweeping, carrying, etc.). Although the pace of maturation varies, young animals can reproduce physiologically by age.
- Naked mole rats, despite their names, are neither moles nor rats. They are related to guinea pigs and porcupines more closely.
- Soldier mole rats protect the colony against predators, primarily snakes and alien mole rats, which they can smell from a distance.
- Because naked mole rats spend their entire lives practically underground, weak red lights are used to illuminate them in zoo exhibits.
- Mole rats are not sighted. However, their tiny eyes make naked mole rats frequently close them as they scurry through the tunnels.
- The queen is not born in the role. She is a woman who overcame obstacles to reach the top.
The naked mole rat looks weird and small, and they are hairless with strange pink skin. Their life span is amazingly high if not attacked by any predator. A female known as the queen fights for the kingdom ship and becomes the queen of a colony. They eat plants. Amazingly, these rats do not drink water.