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Scientific Name:
Heterocephalus glaber

Conservation Status:
Common

Where to see them:
Between the Orangutans of Ketambe and the World of Reptiles

Fun Facts:

Naked rats aren’t actually moles or rats, but they are members of the Order Rodentia, which includes a wide array of animals such as rats, mice, squirrels, porcupines and guinea pigs.

Naked mole rats and Damaraland mole rats are the only truly eusocial mammals.

Naked Mole Rat

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Size
Length: 8-10 centimeters
Weight: 30-35 grams

Range
Limited to the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia)

Habitat
Naked mole rats spend nearly their entire lives below ground in burrows. Naked mole rat colonies can span two to three miles in cumulative length. Their burrows are completely dark, very warm, and contain limited oxygen.

Lifestyle
Naked mole rats live exclusively underground.  They are eusocial and have a social system similar to bees, wasps, ants and termites. Colonies consist of 20 to 300 members and are ruled by a queen who breeds with three or four select males. The remaining workers in the colony are relegated to rearing infants and performing colony maintenance. Some colony members have specialized assignments like soldier and tunnel digger.

Food
Naked mole rats are radicivores, meaning that they eat primarily tubers. One large tuber can feed an entire colony for years.

Life Cycle
Naked mole rats become sexually mature around 1 year of age. Gestation is approximately 70 days. Litters average 12 pups. The queen nurses them for one month, then the entire colony cooperatively rears them to maturity. The queen mole rat can live to be 13 to 18 years old.  Naked mole rats are some of the longest-lived members of the rodent family.

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Rufous-beaked snakes, other naked mole rats and dung beetles

Population Status & Threats
Naked mole rats are common in the wild. Snakes and other underground predators are their largest threats.