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Naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) images
H. glaber individuals have little hair on their bodies.
In their natural environment in Africa, H. glaber builds an extensive network of underground tunnels. In captivity, they move frequently through artificial tunnels.
H. glaber has powerful jaw muscles, which make up a significant fraction of its body mass.
H. glaber cannot thermoregulate physiologically, so they control their temperature through behavior. In nature, their underground environment has a fairly stable temperature and they can move deeper or closer to the surface to adjust their temperature. In captivity, warm water bottles (seen behind this immature pup) are needed to keep the individuals from getting too cold.
H. glaber is a eusocial species, similar to honeybees. The queen (shown here lactating) is the only reproductive female in the colony. Other individuals serve particular societal roles, such as soldiers and cleaners.
The Catania lab of the Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences performs research on the organization of mammalian sensory systems, including H. glaber.
Images (c) 2003 Steve Baskauf