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When you look at this photo, what do you see? Probably something either quite cute or extremely repulsive. It's called the naked mole-rat, and I have always had a special place for it in my heart. Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I at least find it fascinating.
The naked mole-rat lives in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Very obviously, it has no hair, except for its whiskers, which serve the same purpose as a cat's whiskers, that is to feel its way along. Unlike a cat, the naked mole-rat is almost completely blind, because it lives its whole life down in dark tunnels and has lost the need for vision.
If two naked mole-rats collide in a tunnel, because the tunnels aren't wide enough for them to pass each other, the higher ranking naked mole-rat waddles along the tunnel on top of the lower-ranking one. Apparently they don't mind it too much, because they are naked, after all.
The naked mole-rats work together to excavate tunnels. Interestingly, their lips close behind their teeth, which is part of why they are so ugly. However, this is very advantageous, as they spend most of their lives digging out the tunnels. They can dig with their teeth without dirt getting in their mouths if they close their mouths tightly.
Naked mole-rats are highly social creatures, as might be expected of a mammal that is naked and blind. They live in organized colonies rather like bees do.
One more astounding fact is that naked mole-rats cannot get cancer. It produces a sugar of very high concentration which stops all of its other cells from reproducing uncontrollably and forming tumors.
For more information and another heartwarming picture, click
Have you seen his new(ish) rise of vertabrates movie? i'm pretty sure it's instant play on netflix, and if you haven't watched them yet, both the life of mammals and the life of birds are some of my favorites,
"matan, now i get what you meant a few years back when you said that "the level in mbg is beyond me" after the last rampage i noticed things were insane, and now i truly feel that too" - Dushine, 2015.