- The only cold-blooded mammal
- Can’t feel pain. Literally do not have the receptors for it.
- They are extremely long-lived (30 years, but remember they’re small rodents) and they stay young right up until they die, they don’t sort of generally break down the way everyone else does.
- Almost wholly immune to cancer. “Their cells secrete a kind of sugar, which prevents cancerous cells from multiplying and overcrowding.”
- Immune to not having any oxygen. They live underground in mass bundles, where there’s no fresh air, so they’ve evolved a bunch of ways of doing this.
a) “the haemoglobin in their blood is very sticky for oxygen, able to grab oxygen molecules out of atmospheres with very low oxygen levels.”
b) “they reduce their need for oxygen by not generating body heat—they are the only cold-blooded mammal. Keeping warm takes a huge amount of energy which normally requires a huge amount of oxygen.”
c) normally, your pain receptors go crazy if you breathe in too much CO2. Naked molerats lack of pain receptors allow them to comfortably hang in a high-CO2 environment
d) they can release fructose into their bloodstream and use it for energy. Normally all mammals use glucose, which is much more efficient, but required oxygen to break down into ATP (energy that cells can use). You know who uses fructose? PLANTS. Whole article just on this oxygen thing.
- How is there a sixth thing! The sixth thing: they (along with one other mole rat species) are the only known mammals to have the queen/worker/drone social structure (called ‘eusociality’). Other animals that have this: ants, bees, wasps. Not mammals. Naked molerats have a single fertile queen, three or four fertile breeding males, and all the workers are sterile.
Any one of these things would be amazing on its own. I can’t believe molerats. How are they. Anyway here are photos but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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