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Naked mole rat litter

Naked mole rat litter

Z918/0116

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Credit

NEIL BROMHALL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEIL BROMHALL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Naked mole rat litter (Heterocephalus glaber) being nursed by their mother. Naked mole rats are rodents that live in underground colonies in eastern Africa. The colonies are remarkable as they are organised in a similar manner to those of ants and bees. Only one female, the queen, breeds. A litter may have up to 27 individuals, and up to five litters may be produced each year. The queen mates with around three dominant males. The rest of the colony are workers, who maintain the burrow, defend the dominant animals, find food and tend to the young. This is known as a eusocial colony. A naked mole rat may reach 15cm in length. The queen is longer than the workers.

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