Thursday, February 5, 2009

Naked Mole Rats

Where do I begin...?

I'm a small rodent typically found in Eastern Africa. 

I'm actually more like a porcupine than a mole or a rat. 

As my  name implies, I have no hair. 

When it gets cold, I huddle with other mole rats--we keep each other warm.

I live underground!

I don't see very well. 

Like a bee or an ant, I live in a colony with 20-300 other naked mole rats. 
Our large home has a tunnel which contains many rooms, just like your house. There's a nursery, a nesting chamber, a dining room, a kitchen, and even a bathroom! We have a very structured system.

We also have a queen. She's the biggest and longest mole rat. She's also the only woman who mates. She chooses only a few (lucky) men to mate with. When she dies, the other girls fight (sometimes to death) to become the new queen. That's always scary!

The queen can be very demanding. We literally live to serve her.

Some of us are soldiers (guarding the colony), and some are workers. The soldiers ward off predators, and the workers dig for tunnels, look for food, and/or look after the queen's babies.
Snakes are our biggest predators.

We're good at sharing food with one another. 
We love to eat roots and tubers. Mmmm!
We use our long teeth to burrow and to look for food. 

Our absolute favorite food in the world is a BANANA!

We eat our own feces because we need to absorb the nutrients from our food, which is hard to digest.

We can live to be almost 30! (That's the longest longivity for a rodent, thank you very much).

We're as good at running backwards as we are at running forwards.

I'm also cold-blooded!

Would you like to see what we're like in action?


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