Here are just a few of the amazing facts about naked mole rats:
- They can survive up to 18 minutes without breathing! They do this by switching from using one source of energy to another. They essentially break down types of sugar differently to survive once they run out of oxygen!
- They are resistant to pain! Their pain-signalling is non-functioning, but not so much that it's a danger to them.
- They defy the biological way of aging! Studies have shown that their risk of aging does not increase as they get older. Their bodies don't show biological signs of aging. In fact, they are the longest living rodent species, at 30 years old.
- They are resistant to cancer!
- Their front incisor "teeth" can be moved separately or work together like chopsticks.
- Their colonies can span 6 football fields in length!
- They are only 1 of 2 mammal species which are eusocial - meaning they have a social hierarchy typically found in insect species. There is a queen leader who is protected by her soldiers. The queen has fought her way to the top.
- They live most of their lives in darkness underground
If any one of these characteristics was to be found in one animal, that animal would instantly be unique. But the fact that all of them are containing within this cute, cuddly animal (sarcasm) makes the Naked Mole Rat one of the most interesting animals in the world!