Trivia question for Nov-26-2011

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 in Trivia

Carter and Olivia love watching these guys dig their tunnels and to see how they always seem to be fighting amongst themselves.  Check out what Carter came up with for his trivia.  These guys have pink, wrinkled skin and is almost entirely hairless.  They spend their whole life below the scorching East African savannah in underground tunnels, where its near-blindness is not a disadvantage.

These guys are well adapted for the limited availability of oxygen within the tunnels that are its habitat: its lungs are very small and its blood has a very strong affinity for oxygen, increasing the efficiency of oxygen uptake. It has a very low respiration and metabolic rate for an animal of its size, about 2/3 that of a mouse of the same size, thus using oxygen minimally. In long periods of hunger, such as a drought, its metabolic rate can be reduced by up to 25 percent.

These guys feed primarily on very large tubers (weighing as much as 1000 times their body weight) that they find deep underground through their mining operations, but also eat their own feces. (Tubers are various types of modified plant structures that are enlarged to store nutrients) A single tuber can provide a colony with a long-term source of food—lasting for months, or even years, as they eat the inside but leave the outside, allowing the tuber to regenerate. Symbiotic bacteria in their intestines ferment the fibers, allowing previously indigestible cellulose to be turned into volatile fatty acids.

So here are Carter’s questions:  Tell us what these ugly little creatures are called and name one other land mammal that also lacks fur?  Also, these guys live in colonies rules by a single female.  Tell us which other species has a similar social structure?

Good Luck 😉


Congratulations goes out to Jen Dowdy from Paducah, Kentucky for being the first to answer our trivia correctly. The hairless mammal we featured is the Naked Mole Rat. The naked mole rat, also known as the sand puppy or desert mole rat, is a burrowing rodent native to parts of East Africa. It is one of only two known eusocial mammals (the other being the Damaraland mole rat) and has a highly unusual set of physical traits that enables it to thrive in an otherwise harsh, underground environment, including a lack of pain sensation in its skin and a very low metabolism.

Except for the East Indian species of bat, the naked mole rat in the only other land mammal that lacks fur.  Jen, your guess that the Armadillo was the other mammal without fur was a great guess but they do in-fact have fur on their bellies. (The armor is formed by plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping epidermal scales called “scutes”, composed of bone with a covering of horn. In most species, rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with a number of bands separated by flexible skin cover the back and flanks. Additional armor covers the top of the head, the upper parts of the limbs, and the tail. The underside of the animal is never armored, and is simply covered with soft skin and fur.)

Naked Mole rats live in colonies ruled by a single female – a similar social structure to that of ants and bees.  Here is more on these odd mammals: Naked Mole Rat

Thanks for playing along 😉