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Naked mole rat nest

Naked mole rat nest

Z918/0118

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Credit

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

Caption

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) in their nest chamber. They sleep together to help maintain their body temperature, as they cannot regulate it as well as most other mammals. 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. 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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