When the big boss retired, she gave each of the managers in her group a small gift from her office. Some received art, some received a book or two, and I was the proud recipient of a small, pink, rubber facsimile of a naked mole rat (pictured).
My first introduction to the naked mole rat was via Errol Morris’ 1997 documentary, Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. I recall the researcher in that film focusing heavily on the social inclinations of the naked mole rat, which is quite ant-like. They live in vast underground colonies, complete with a fertile queen and a multitude of sterile worker mole rats.
This week, NPR reported that, in addition to their many obvious charms (including being cold-blooded mammals), naked mole rats can survive for up to 18 minutes without oxygen.
Some mild research also revealed a naked mole rat genome resource. Since they are long-lived and cancer-resistant, naked mole rats apparently hold some promise for human medical science.
In addition, I’ve located a children’s book about a clothed naked mole rat (just a mole rat?), at least one poem (“Ode to the Naked Mole Rat“), and this adorable, tiny, fastidious creature (which I can only hope is a naked mole rat and not merely a naked rat):