You can learn more about mole rats and check out the mole rat cam at nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/SmallMammals/fact-nakedmolerat.cfm, nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/PhotoGallery/SmallMammals/8.cfm, and nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/2002/3/nakedmolerats.cfm (Smithsonian National Zoological Park).
For information about mole rat research at Cornell University, go to www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Aug99/rat_mamm.hrs.html, www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Nov02/old_moles.hrs.html, www.news.cornell.edu/releases/July96/molebook.hrs.html, and www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/96/11.21.96/mole-rats.html (Cornell University).
Additional information about mole rats is available at www.bio.davidson.edu/people/vecase/Behavior/Spring2002/poulton/poulton.html
More than 2 dozen zoos in the United States and worldwide now feature exhibits of naked mole rats. See www.houstonzoo.org/Animal_Sections/Life_Below/_Subterranean_Mammals_and_Insects.aqf
(Houston Zoo) and www.sandiegozoo.org/kids/syd_digby_intro.html(San Diego Zoo).
Milius, Susan. 2006. Naked and not. Science News 169(June 24):394-396. Available at http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060624/bob9.asp.
Books recommended by SearchIt!Science:
The Naked Mole-Rat Mystery: Scientific Sleuths at Work — Gail Jarrow and Paul Sherman
Published by Lerner Publications, 1996.
The naked mole rat is a mystery to scientists because it’s very unlike other mammals. Like reptiles, this nearly hairless, burrowing rodent has a variable body temperature. Like social insects, mole rats live in colonies. This book presents the natural history of this puzzling animal, emphasizing the methods scientists use to learn more about it.
Naked Mole-Rats— Gail Jarrow and Paul Sherman
Published by Carolrhoda Books, 1996.
This book, for children ages 4 to 8, describes the mole rat, a strange-looking rodent that lives a social life in a system of tunnels in the soils of East Africa. The text is accompanied by many color photos of a naked mole rat colony.
The Naked Mole-Rat Letters— Mary Amato
Published by Holiday House, 2005.
This fictional story is about a zookeeper who takes care of mole rats in a Washington D.C., zoo, and Frankie, the 12-year-old daughter of the man with whom the zookeeper has a long-distance relationship. When the romance begins, Frankie feels as if her heart has been stomped on. She sends fake e-mails to the zookeeper in an attempt to sabotage the relationship. She breaks down at school, snaps at her little brothers, and begins hanging around with a known troublemaker. But when the zookeeper responds with wise and witty letters about mole rats—how they protect territory, shun outsiders, and rebuild their underground homes, Frankie is drawn into a revealing correspondence that touches on family, friendship, and growing up.
gene A tiny part of a chromosome, made up of molecules of DNA. Traits are passed from parent to offspring through the genes. The shape of a plant’s leaf, the color of an animal’s coat, and the texture of a person’s hair are all determined by genes.
rodent A usually small mammal with front teeth that are used for gnawing. The front teeth of rodents grow throughout the animal’s life, and gnawing keeps them from getting too long. Rats, beavers, squirrels, shrews, and hamsters are all rodents.
Copyright © 2002, 2003 Houghton-Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.