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Naked Mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Eastern Africa: Horn of Africa and adjacent region

(Hamilton 1928; Hill et al. 1957; Jarvis and Sherman 2002; Maree and Faulkes 2016, except as noted)

  • Somalia
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Djibouti (Pearch et al. 2001)

Notes on distribution

  • Only subterranean rodent within its distribution (Patterson 2016)
  • Range may larger than presently known
  • Also see Movements and Dispersal

Elevation range

  • 300 to 1,500 m (900 to 4,900 ft) asl (Patterson 2016)



  • Arid scrub and semi-desert biomes in Horn of Africa (Maree and Faulkes 2016; Patterson 2016)
    • High temperatures
    • Low irregular rainfall
      • 200 to 400 mm (8 to 20 in) per year
  • Soil types (Jarvis and Sherman 2002; Maree and Faulkes 2016; Patterson 2016)
    • Most common in hard, compact soils (lateric loams), where their food plants grow
    • Also found in fine sand and pure gypsum
    • Avoid rocky or soft, loose soils
  • Live in underground burrow system (Braude 1991; Patterson 2016)
    • Air conditions
      • Low oxygen, high carbon dioxide (Patterson 2016)
      • Humid
    • Rarely above ground
    • Also see Burrows

Naked Mole-rat Distribution

Distribution of the naked mole-rat

Naked mole-rats are found in arid scrub and semi-desert habitat in the Horn of Africa.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

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