Meet LSC's Animals: Naked Mole Rats

Did you know naked mole rat babies are referred to as “pups”? Learn more about naked mole rats and their “pups” in this new video from our Meet LSC’s Animals series:

It is easy to think naked mole rats are blind since most of the time they walk around with their eyes closed. But since they live in complete darkness, they do not follow a circadian rhythm, or a 24 hour cycle, and have greatly reduced eyesight.

Their long incisors can move independently and are not only good for chewing roots and tubers to eat, but also aid in digging extensive tunnel systems. In fact, a colony of 100 individuals has the ability to dig three kilometers in one year! Their tunnel system will become quite expansive, possibly spanning the equivalent of six football fields to support a colony of 300 individuals with only one queen.

Scientists are studying these unique animals for a variety of reasons: their high tolerance to pain and low oxygen levels, their ability to live for 30 years, and of special interest, a gene mutation that makes them practically immune to cancer.

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