Damaraland Mole-Rat

Damaraland Mole-Rat Fukomys damarensis

Type of Animal:

Savanna, woodland, secondary forest, semiarid/arid savanna scrubland, grassland, scrub forest, agricultural areas, semiarid/arid thornscrub, semidesert, desert, partly vegetated sand dunes

Southern Africa

Cylindrical body w/ short stout limbs, large feet, conical head, fawn to almost black (usually brownish) short thick fur (sometimes blotches of white fur appear), large protruding incisor teeth, white patch on top of head, long face whiskers, breeding males largest, then queen, subordinate females smaller than subordinate males

Roots, bulbs, tubers, aloe leaves, corms, earthworms, invertebrate larvae, white ants, root/tuber vegetables, greens, legumes, fruit

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos

1 of very few eusocial mammals (multiple generations live together & very few individuals produce offspring)-colonies number around 25 consisting of queen (breeding female), 2 breeding males (boars), workers (care for queen’s pups, dig tunnels, scout food, etc.), soldiers (defend colony from predators/invaders, protect queen, etc.), & pups (2-3 per litter w/ 1-4 litters a year).

Additional Info:

Boar (breeder)
Soldier/Worker (nonbreeder)
Queen (breeder)
Worker/Soldier (nonbreeder)

Boar-7.11 oz
Soldier/Worker-5.33 oz
Queen-6.29 oz
Worker/Soldier-5.09 oz
1.9 oz

3 months

Life Span:
10-20 years

Body Length:
Boar-7.9 in
Soldier/Worker-5.5 in
Queen-7.9 in
Worker/Soldier-5.5 in

Tail Length:
Boar-1.18 in
Soldier/Worker-0.79 in
Queen-1.18 in
Worker/Soldier-0.79 in

Main predators are snakes.
If queen dies, colony members disperse.
Very attuned to sounds & vibrations.
Pups fully weaned by 3 weeks old & can wander out of nesting chamber in 24 hours.
Rarely go above ground, except to disperse, gather nesting materials, & dig.
Like most mole rats, they have very poor eyesight.

Fun Fact(s):
Burrow/tunnel systems as large as 2 football fields w/ 1-2 centrally based deeper burrows connecting to nesting chamber as well as feeding chambers, a toilet chamber, & storage chambers. Burrows deeper when soil looser. Tunnels usually 2.6-3 in in diameter. Foraging/feeding tunnels typically 2-9.8 in beneath soil while toilet/storage/nesting chambers often as deep as 8.2 ft underground.
Despite living underground, they’re active during the day (diurnal).
Damaraland mole rat, stock photo

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