MYTH: NAKED MOLE RATS ARE JUST NAKED RATS THAT LIVE UNDERGROUND.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo  .

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Truth: Despite their name, the naked mole rat is not completely naked. It isn’t a mole or rat, either!

MYTH STATUS: Busted

Image provided by wikimedia creative

Image provided by wikimedia creative


From afar, the naked mole rat looks like it lives up to its bare skinned name. But truth be told, these wrinkly, pink rodents have about 100 fine whiskers on their body that act like ‘information collectors.’ They even have hairs between their toes help sweep soil behind them while tunneling.

So we got the first half debunked, what about the second part.

Although they dig in the ground like moles and have a rat-like tail, the naked mole rat is closer related to the porcupine and guinea pig!.


Unlike other mammals, the naked mole rat can not self regulate its body temperature and relies on the combined warmth of the colony to stay nice and toasty warm. Image provided by Wikimedia creatives

Unlike other mammals, the naked mole rat can not self regulate its body temperature and relies on the combined warmth of the colony to stay nice and toasty warm. Image provided by Wikimedia creatives

Believe me when I saw this crazy cool animal has more than just a weird name up their proverbial sleeve. Here are my 10 favorite facts about naked mole rats:

  • The naked mole rat can live much longer than any other rodent, up to 30 years.


  • Naked mole rat colonies are eusocial, they work very similar to bees and ants. There is a queen, workers, and soldiers.

  • Unlike bees and ants, the queen naked mole rat was not born into her role. She fought her way to the top.

  • No one has ever documented cancer in naked mole rats. They are thought to be immune.


  • A quarter of their body’s muscles reside in their jaws.


  • A mole rat’s incisors can be moved independently of each other and even work together like a pair of chopsticks. They also grow through the animal’s lips so they can be used to dig without getting a mouthful of dirt.


  • Unlike most other mammals, naked mole rates have trouble maintaining a steady body temperature (almost like a reptile) and need to huddle together to share warmth.


  • They do not feel pain from inflammation. When exposed to acid, the bare skin did not react and the animals did not respond with any distress.


  • Due to its very low respiration and metabolic rate for an animal of its size (about 70% that of a mouse), the naked mole rate needs very little oxygen to survive.


  • Naked mole rat tunnels can be over 2.5 miles long!



What fact surprised you most?


Until next time, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to . . .

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