Giant Zambian Mole Rat - Cryptomys meachowi
tropical woodland and savanna
Congo, northern Zambia and Central Angola
Subterranean-active throughout the day and night
Light brown fur. Short limbs, cylindrical body (think sausage with hair), and large head. Eyes are small and only detect light and dark. They have large, ever growing and forwardly-directed incisors.
Sexual dimorphism is present: males weighing up to 600 grams and females up to 350 grams
Highly social, and lives in colonies containing a single reproductive female, breeding males, and a number of non-breeding workers.
Geophytes, roots and some invertebrates
They have seasonal reproduction, with just one female giving birth. Gestation is about 100 days; Maximum litter size is four; Babies are born dark in color and lighten as they grow
- The streamlined body and short limbs allow then to move backwards and forwards with ease in the narrow burrows.
- The hind feet and tail have stiff hairs that help hold soil when they move it along the burrows.
- Even though their range of hearing is limited, Giant Zambian Mole-rats have large vocal repertoires.
- The hair is short, thick and easily reversible, which is helpful when living in a tunnel.
- Their skin is loose, this lets them shake off dirt and also helps them when turning around in burrows.
- Stiff tactile hairs are scattered over much of the body. These hairs stick up above the rest of the hair and works like whiskers.
- They use their incisors like a shovel, excavating burrows by biting the soil.
- They have strong muscular lips behind their incisors that keep the soil out of their mouth.
- They sharpen their teeth by grooming the lower incisors against the upper incisors.
- Living underground, they have developed adaptations: tolerance to high carbon dioxide and low oxygen concentrations and lower body temperatures and resting metabolic rates than most mammals.
- Some mole-rats have been known to live into their 20s. Scientists are studying naked mole rats to try to figure out their aging secrets.
- The incisors are on the outside of their mouth, allowing it to work like a shovel and not get dirt in their mouth.
- Adult (13 and over)$9.00
- Child (3 - 12)$5.25
- Child (2 and under)Free
- Senior (65+)$8.00
We begin transferring animals to evening (off exhibit) holding at 4:30 each night.
Open Daily 10:00-5:00
Last admission at 4:30