DAMARALAND MOLE-RAT – Cryptomys damarensis


Damaraland mole-rat facts: Damaraland mole-rats have either grayish yellow-brown or dark brown coat colors. In either case, they have a large white patch on the top of the head. Damaraland mole-rats have a flattened nose; very small eyes; two large incisor teeth on top and another set of large incisors on the bottom of the mouth; five thin claws on each foot; and a stubby tail. They weigh about 4.6 ounces (130 grams), with males a little larger than females. Weight varies depending on social status.

Geographic range: They are widely found in Namibia, most of Botswana, and extending into western Zimbabwe and northwestern South Africa.

Damaraland mole-rat habitat: They inhabit dry regions with an average annual rainfall of under 15.6 inches (40 centimeters). They prefer red Kalahari desert arenosols, sandy soils featuring very weak or no soil development; loose deposits of rivers and streams; and sands.

What does damaraland mole-rat eat: They eat geophytes (JEE-oh-fites), plants with underground organs such as bulbs, tubers, and rootstalks. Large geophytes are eaten at the place they grow, while the smaller ones are carried back to a communal storage area. The animals dig together as a group in search for food.

Behavior and reproduction: Damaraland mole-rats are highly organized and social creatures. They use their incisor teeth for digging. These rodents live in colonies of up to forty animals. The colony consists of a single breeding female, her several male partners, and their non-breeding offspring. The breeding animals control the colony. Pups of breeders remain as non-breeding helpers. Breeding occurs throughout the year. The gestation, pregnancy, period is seventy-eight to ninetytwo days. The litter size is one to five, but averages three. The breeding female can have up to four litters in one year. Breeders can live more than ten years.

Damaraland mole-rats and people: There is no known significance between people and Damaraland mole-rats.

Conservation status: Dameraland mole-rats are not threatened.