Naked Mole Rat Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Naked Mole-Rat

Scientific Name:

Heterocephalus glaber

Wild Status:

Least Concern




Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia



Life Span:

13 to 18 years


4 inches long, 20 to 80 grams

Cool Facts:

The naked mole-rat is the longest-lived of all rodents, being able to live an average of 13 to18 years. The oldest naked mole-rat on record was 32 years old! Even at advanced ages, naked mole-rats do not display the detrimental effects of aging.   Unlike other mammals, naked mole-rats are unable to regulate their body temperature and are effectively cold-blooded. They also lack the neurostransmitter known as Substance P in their skin, which prevents them from being able to feel pain.   Naked mole-rats are sometimes called sand puppies and used to be in the same family as other mole-rats, the Bathyergidae. Recent genetic research has placed naked mole-rats into their own unique family, the Herterocephalidae.   The tunnels of naked mole-rats are not constructed with their limbs, but rather their teeth. They are able to close their lips behind their incisors to create a seal to prevent them from swallowing debris. Up to a quarter of their body weight is made up of jaw-closing musculature.


The naked mole-rat is a burrowing rodent native to the deserts of East Africa. As the name suggests, they have very little body hair and lack an insulating layer in their skin. They spend almost their entire lives underground in huge colonies of a score to several hundred individuals. Naked mole-rats are eusocial much like some insects in that the colony consists of only a single breeding female known as the queen and anywhere from one to three breeding males, while the remainder are all sterile workers. They feed almost exclusively on tubers.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Chordata Class - Mammalia Order - Rodentia Family - Heterocephalidae Genus - Heterocephalus Species - H. glaber  

Conservation & Helping:

The naked mole-rat is very common in its native habit and is classified as Least Concern.

For Teachers and Educators


Keep Exploring Defenders!