Naked Mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Class: Mammalia — mammals
Order: Rodentia — rodents
Family: Heterocephalidae — naked mole-rat
Species: Heterocephalus glaber — naked mole-rat
(Adults in managed care typically 30 to 50 g (1 to 2 oz); sometimes 80 g (3 oz) or more.)
|Distribution & Status
|Behavior & Ecology
Populations in the Wild
|Reproduction & Development
Weight at Birth
Age at Weaning
Typical Life Expectancy
For detailed information, click the tabs at the top of this page.
© 2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
How to cite: Naked Mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) Fact Sheet. c2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/naked-mole-rat.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2019 Dec 31)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to email@example.com.
Many thanks to Prof. Chris G. Faulkes for providing expert content review of this fact sheet.
Chris Faulkes has worked for over 30 years on the evolution of social and reproductive behavior in cooperatively-breeding mammals, with particular emphasis on the naked mole-rat and other African mole-rats. He has published extensively in the scientific literature and co-authored a textbook on African mole-rats.
His research broadly encompasses fields from molecular biology to behavioral ecology. Recent work has utilized comparative genomic approaches to understand adaptations to a subterranean lifestyle and the extraordinary biology of the long-lived naked mole-rat.
Prof. Faulkes began his academic career at the Zoological Society of London and is currently Reader in Evolutionary Ecology at Queen Mary University of London.
Visit Prof. Faulkes's research group website to learn more his long career studying the naked mole-rat.
Thank you to Kym Janke for sharing her knowledge of animal husbandry for the Managed Care section of this fact sheet.
Kym Janke is the Lead Keeper of the San Diego Zoo’s Children’s Zoo (an Animal Connections department). She is responsible for overseeing animal care, as well as education-outreach programs. She has worked for San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance for 13 years and has extensive experience in zoo animal husbandry across a wide variety of taxa.
Early in her career, Kym developed expertise in the husbandry and breeding of cheetahs at Wildlife Safari in Oregon. She also previously worked at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Canada.
Since 2008, Kym has served on the board of the American Association of Zoo Keepers San Diego. She is also involved in AZA’s Animal Ambassador Scientific Advisory Group (AASAG).
The naked mole-rat is one of the only eusocial mammals.
Extended family members live underground in a colony and have defined social roles. Similar to honey bees, only a female queen and 1 to 3 males breed.
In this photo, colony workers huddle together during a rest break.