Naked Mole Rat

Naked Mole Rat

The Naked mole rat is also known as desert mole rat or sand puppy. It is a rodent native to the parts of East Africa. This animal can live in a harsh underground environment.

Average individuals are 8-10cm long and weight 30-35g. Queens are much larger, up to 50g. They are well equipped for underground life. Their eyes are small and their vision is very bad. Their legs are short, and they can go backwards as fast as they can go forward. The teeth of Naked Mole Rat are behind their lips, so the dirt cannot get into their mouth while digging. Their metabolism is very slow, but they can survive in tunnels with limited availability of oxygen. During long periods of hunger, their metabolism is reduced up to 25%.

Their skin lacks a substance P (a key neurotransmitter) which is used for sending pain signals from the skin to the brain. Because of this, the naked mole rat doesn’t feel pain! Only when they are injected with substance P, the pain signals work (only with capsaicin, they still cannot feel pain caused by acids). Naked mole rats have a high resistance to cancers. They are so resistant, that cancer has never been spotted in them! According to some researchers, the reason why they do not get cancer is because their bodies produce an HMW-HA (extremely high-molecular-mass hyaluronan), a natural sugary substance.

Naked Mole rat exhibit eusociality. Which means that they have the same organization as ants or bees. Queens live from 13 to 18 years. They are very hostile to other females, and they are responsible for producing hormones for becoming queens. Only the queen and three males can reproduce.

 

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