behold! the naked mole rat

Naked mole rat

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 ControlI 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):

Naked mole rat bathing

Nice marmot.

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