By Momotarou2012 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Campaign Chunk Volume 12.03 – Naked Mole Rat
The naked mole rat(NMR), sometimes called a sand puppy, is a burrowing rodent known for its lack of hair or fur, and large protruding teeth that they use to dig with and they can move independently of each other. A NMR adult is anywhere in size between 8 ad 10 centimeters in length. They have very small eyes for a rodent and this means they cant see as well as other species.It is a common misbelief they are blind. They also have small/short legs. Whilst they may seem like a disadvantage, the NMR can move backwards as fast as it can move forwards, which when you are underground and in a tight tunnel is a good advantage to have.
The NMR can be found in the drier parts of East Africa. They live together in colonies of around 80 individuals. The burrows they inhabit can be quite complex and be up to 3 miles in length in total. They feed on large tubors they discover underground. They eat this tubors fro the inside, which allows the tubor to regrow, helping the NMR to maintain a reliable food source. This burrow has various chambers within, such as rooms for nesting or eating and waste disposal.
Interestingly, they are one of only two mammalian species that have a eusocial organisation social structure, similar to bees and wasps. One “queen”/female, a female who has fought her way to the top position and one to three males are the only reproducing group, with the other regulated to the status of workers or so-called soldiers defend the colony from both predators—mostly snakes—and foreign mole rats. Another fact about the NMR is that they have a very low, or non-existent sensitivity to pain. This is believed to come from the fact that the NMR lacks any amount of pain receptors in their skin.
Hooks & Rumors
- Despite not feeling pain, certain scientists have begun to see if they can breed in pain receptors into a group of NMR so they can understand how it might develop in other species. There are growing calls for this experiment to end
- After appearing on a children’s TV show, there is an increase in NMR smuggling into the region for them to be used as pets. Authorities are trying to hunt down the location they are being smuggled in and by whom
- A large colony of NMRs was left outside the gates of a Zoo. They had been well looked after, considering they were in a box, but there was no indication who had left them there, apart from a note explaining why they had been left there and a list of all their names
- As of yet, there is no evidence an NMR has ever had, or can have, cancer of any kind. This is leading certain high profile people to petition the government to start an official medial study into why this is and how it can be transferred to others, especially humans.