Congratulations to our naked mole rats! They recently had a new litter of babies, referred to as "pups."
This is the second time this year that the queen of the colony has produced a litter of pups (she last gave birth in July). Naked mole rats are a eusocial species, meaning that one female – the queen – has a single job of producing offspring while the other colony members care for the young.
The queen is capable of successfully mating 8-11 days after postpartum, so the fact that she had two successful litters in such a short time period speaks to the health of the queen and colony as a whole.
Our animal husbandry team is happy to report that the newborn pups are doing great. The workers in the colony are all taking care of the pups, and that includes the last round of babies, who are now considered "juveniles" (they will not reach full size until 18 months after birth).
This time, 20 pups were born, bringing the total colony number to 41 mole rats.
It's worth noting that the queen gave birth to more pups than last time (only 10 babies were born in July). This is because the litter size can increase with every birth. In fact, our queen was about 20 grams over what she weighed the last time she gave birth.
Congratulations again to the mole rats! Come meet the newborns during your next visit to LSC. They live on the third floor in our Eat and Be Eaten gallery.