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Naked Mole Rat

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A naked mole rat photographed at Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri

About the Naked Mole Rat

There are many different kinds of mole rats. The best known is probably the naked mole rat, whose hairless, tubular, wrinkled body makes it appear a bit like a tiny walrus—or perhaps a bratwurst with teeth.

Colony Behavior

Naked mole rats are rodents, but they live in communities like those of many insects. Several dozen rats live together in colonies led by one dominant rat—the queen. As in some insect species, the queen is the only naked mole rat female to breed and bear young.

Worker animals dig the burrows that the whole clan inhabits, using their prominent teeth and snouts. They also gather the roots and bulbs for the colony to eat. Other rats tend to the queen.

Most other types of mole rats live on their own or in small families. Though mole rats spend most of their time excavating and foraging in their burrows, they occasionally emerge to search for seeds or other plants.


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