Naked Mole Rats. Naked. Mole. Rats. Or Super Animal. They’re naked first and foremost. They’re moles….but they’re also rats? How’s all of this possible in one animal? They might be god awful ugly to look at but the naked mole rat is some type of super animal. Quite possibly, this rodent is a super hero. So disregard any naked mole rat perceptions that Kim Possible might have given you and prepare to be amazed by these super rodent facts.
(PSA: If you do not know what Kim Possible is…google immediately and watch this early 2000s Disney show. It’s your homework and you will thank me later. Here’s an episode.)
Why might the naked mole rat be a super animal? Here is what the experts say about it.
1. Setting the record straight: naked mole rats are neither rats or moles.
MIND. BLOWN. We’ve been living a lot? HOW?! Actually, naked mole rates are most closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs.
2. Not from around here: naked mole rats are from Africa.
Location depends on the type of mole rat. There are around 30 different types of moles rats, FYI. For the naked mole rat, however, these little dudes are native to the deserts of Eastern Africa which means they call Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia home.
3. Mammals that behave like insects?!
Naked moles rats are one of two types of mammalian species that are eusocial. Eusociality is a type of social organization where individuals live in a hierarchy of sorts…king, queen, workers, soldiers, cooks, mascots…. We’re mostly familiar with this type of behavior in insects like wasps or ants but naked mole rats have the same type of structure. The only other mammal who does this is…you guessed it….another type of mole rat.
4. Long ass life span.
For a rodent, at least. Naked mole rats have the longest lifespan of any rodent. They can live up to be 30 years old. Think about that when your hamster starts fading after 3 years.
5. Super animal against cancer, apparently.
Maybe it is some type of phenomenon. Only two cases of cancers have ever been reported in naked mole rats. Compared to other animal species, this might be some type of record. Scientists and veterinarians state that the naked mole rat might hold clues in how a mammal’s body can fight off cancer. Seriously, can we say “super animal?”
6. Naked everywhere.
Naked mole rats spend their time exclusively below ground. The world above just doesn’t interest them. Since this is the case, they don’t need hair to protect them from the strong, hot sun. Naked mole rats do have about 100 fine hairs (yes you can count how many hairs on the naked role rat…that few) that act like whiskers to help the little dudes find their way around.
And to note: usually their native land of Eastern Africa is pretty warm. If it does get cold, these mammalian earth worms pile on top of each other in some type of wrestling match cuddle sesh for warmth.
7. Not blind like a bat but really bad eye sight.
In contrast to urban myths, naked mole rats are not blind. They do in fact see but they’re really bad at doing so. It makes sense because they live underground where it’s hard to see. Basically, eye sight is useless so what do they do? These “rats” use their sense of touch, hearing and smell to the 1000th degree to live a happy and healthy life in the dirt.
8. Feel No Pain
The phrase “No Pain, No Gain” does not apply to naked mole rats. The skin of the naked mole rat lacks a key neurotransmitter called Substance P (sounds like a secret weapon out of some 1950s sci-fi movie) that is usually found in mammals. Substance P is responsible for sending pain signals to a mammal’s central nervous system. Since naked mole rats do not have this neurotransmitter, they can not feel pain. This only contributes to its super animal status. Alas a naked mole rat will never be able to feel a broken heart if it gets dumped by a girlfriend.
The naked mole rat. Nature’s little super animal extreme. Even thought it looks like an animated penis with huge teeth, it defies cancer, cannot feel pain and mimics insect colony behavior better than anything else out there.
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