Naked Mole-Rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are almost hairless rodents that live in burrows and tunnels in semi-arid, grassy regions of Africa.
- Caste System
- Naked Mole-Rats live in colonies of 20 to 300 individuals. These mammals are eusocial - they have a caste system, in which the role of the members is set for life. In each colony, there is only one breeding female (called the queen), and one to three breeding males. The other animals are workers or soldiers. These animals huddle together to keep warm when they sleep.
- Naked Mole-Rats are about 3 inches (7 cm) long; they weigh 1 to 2.4 ounces (30 to 70 grams). Because there is no fat under their skin, their skin is wrinkled; the skin is pink, gray, or white/yellow. These unusual mammals also lack sweat glands. They have tiny eyes and ears. The head is short and wide; the jaws are very powerful. Like all rodents, their two front teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. They use these incisors to dig tunnels. Naked Mole-Rats have a life span of 10 to 30 years.
- Naked Mole-Rats are herbivores (plant-eaters); they generally eat tubers and roots.
- Snakes (especially the rufous-beaked snake) are the main predators of the Naked Mole-Rat.