Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rats living in community - Naked mole rats!

We see ants, termites and bees live a social life sharing tasks among themselves. But a mammal too leads such a eusocial life! It is the
Naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glabra, Desert mole rat, Sand puppy). It is a burrowing rodent that lives underground in East African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia). Its adaptation to desert life is surprising.

It has protruding teeth to dig the earth. It has a low metabolic rate. It doesn't have hairs, a mammalian characteristic feature! If you prick its skin with a pin it won't move away - it has no pain sensation! Its eyes are small and so, has poor vision that is an adaptation to its underground life. Only a queen rat and a king rat reproduce in the community! About 12 pups are born in a litter; the queen nurses them for a month; but next the worker rats begin to feed them with their faeces! The main diet of these rodents is the tubers that are mined underground. They also eat their faeces (coprophagia) like rabbits do. It has been also shown that they are resistant to cancer!
Such a wonder rat has also the longest longevity - it lives for about 28 years!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...