The African mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus), also known as the common mole-rat or Hottentot mole-rat, is a burrowing rodent found in Southern Africa, especially in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The mole rat is also prelevant in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Belonging to the Bathyerginae subfamily, the mole rat relies on sensing the magnetic pole for navigation.
Table of Contents
Physical Characteristics of African Mole-Rat
The body of a mature common mole-rat can be anywhere from 10.5 to 16.5 cm long, with a tail ranging from 1.2 to 3.8 cm long. Fames for it’s outward pointing teeth, the African mole rat has a short, thick tawny coat and is almost soley a subterranean animal. The body has a cylindrical shape with short appendages. The ungrooved chisel-like incisors of African mole-rats are used for digging, eating, and fighting.
Reproduction of Common Molerat
The largest female and male are the only reproductive pair in common mole-rat colonies, which are family groups. September and October are the months when mating takes place. The female lifts her tail during courtship to allow the mate to smell her genital area. The male then mounts and mates after softly chewing on her hindquarters.
The birth of offspring is limited to the summer in the southern hemisphere, when one or two litters of up to five pups may be born; the average gestation period is 81 days. It takes about 450 days for a female to reach reproductive maturity. During non-reproductive months, females retain reproductive function.
Behavior of the Common Mole-Rat
Family units of up to 14 individuals common mole-rats are typical. They are eusocial in the sense that colony members are trained for functions like reproduction and cooperative child care. Burrowing and foraging are the main activities of these industrious rodents, with older, casual workers not working as much as younger workers. Breeder status is taken by the oldest mole rat in the colony.
Habitat of the Common Mole Rat
The common mole-rat is a fossorial animal that can live in a variety of environments. They are herbivores that consume grass rhizomes and geophytes (plants with underground storage organs). Since common mole-rats are so common and subterranean, their true population is unknown.
Due to soil requirements, this species shows signs of localization. The pattern of common mole-rat burrowing systems optimizes their access to food, especially geophytes. Burrowing has a negative economic impact because it destroys human property, but it also has a positive economic impact because it increases soil drainage and turnover.
Fantastic Facts About Common Mole-Rats
- Common mole-rats are valuable to their habitat, filling soil with oxygen as they burrow.
- Common mole-rats are herbivores eating mainly tubers and roots.
- The common mole rat is resistant to cancer
- The common mole rat has a tolerance of low oxygen by lowering its metabolism rate
African Mole Rats Can Sense Magnetic-Field with Their Eyes
Magnetoreception, or the ability to detect magnetic fields, is present in all large vertebrate groups. Despite decades of study, much about mammals’ magnetic sense remains unknown, including which organs are involved.
Ansell’s mole-rat, a nearly blind subterranean rodent from central Zambia’s woodlands, was the subject of a new report. According to previous research, these mole rats tend to construct nests in the southeastern sections of circular arenas. Strong magnetic pulses were shown to interrupt this instinct in experiments, implying that the rodents had a magnetic sense. It’s unclear why they gravitate toward the southeast.
Discovering the Truth about the Eyes of Mole-Rats
When it came to foraging, socialization, and locomotion, blind and sighted mole rats acted identically, indicating that vision was of no benefit to them for such repetitive behaviors. However scientists discovered that mole-rats without eyes constructed their nests in random orientations, implying that the eyes are necessary for them to detect magnetic fields.
Magnetic crystals may exist in the corneas of these mole rats, the transparent front sections of their eyes, according to previous research.
“Magnetic particles can be thought of as small bar magnets,” “These tiny particles will align with the magnetic field as an animal moves through it, and this motion may cause a deformation in neuron cell membranes.”Kai Caspar at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany
Molecules in these membranes that are sensitive to mechanical force could then detect such action. Even if the rodents’ eyes have magnetic sensors, this does not imply that they can “sense” magnetic fields. Caspar pointed out that the cornea and the light-sensitive retina are linked to the brain by entirely different nerves. “Magnetism must trigger some kind of sensation,” Caspar said, “but we can’t say how this feels because we don’t have this feeling.”
The findings of the study can be found via this link: http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rsif.2020.0513
Q & A About the Common Mole Rat
What is the food of Common mole rats?
Mole-rats are herbivorous, and most species consume geophytes (storage organs) and roots, but some species also eat grasses, plants, invertebrates, and even other rodents.
Is a mole rat considered as a rat or a mole?
Mole rats are neither moles nor rats, despite their names (nor are they hairless). Porcupines and guinea pigs are more closely related to them. Mole rats are native to Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya in the Horn of Africa.
What is the habitat of common mole rats?
Eastern Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Kenya, Dijbouti, and Somalia, are home to African mole-rats. They only live in grassy, semi-arid areas, where they live in underground burrows and tunnels.
Do mole-rats pretend to be dead?
Mole-rats do not pretend to be dead, unlike the fable claims. The majority of napping mole-rats lie on their backs, upside down. Unlike most other animals, they have difficulty maintaining a consistent body temperature and will huddle together to share warmth — despite the fact that the temperature in their burrows is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
What order to common mole-rats belong to?
Common mole-rats belong in the order ‘Rodentia’
Do common mole-rats hibernate?
Comon mole-rats do not hibernate. They are active all year.
How do common-mole rats dig?
Common mole rats have protective, hard snouts and teeth that grow outside the lip to protect the muzzle when they dig.
You may like: African Spurred Tortoise