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Yes, they have skinny, rat-like tails. Yet naked mole-rats are more closely related to porcupines, chinchillas, and guinea pigs than they are to moles or rats and are the only species of mole-rat that has practically no hair.

Why are they “naked”? Native to the desert regions of East Africa, which can be pretty warm during the day, naked mole-rats live underground. If it does get cold at night, the little mammals just huddle together in a mole-rat pile and use each other’s body heat to keep warm.

Naked mole-rats are found where there are plants with large underground roots and tubers. Eating these tough foods requires some pretty strong and sharp teeth. Naked mole-rats’ front teeth also help them tunnel through dirt while looking for these food items.

They are able to get enough moisture from their diet, so they don’t need to dig for water as well. Like all rodents, these teeth continue to grow, but by gnawing on hard things, they keep their teeth from getting too long!

Naked mole-rats eat their own poop. But they have a very good reason for doing this. The roots and tubers they eat are very hard to digest, so their intestines are full of microscopic organisms to help with digestion. To absorb more of the nutrients from their food, naked mole-rats eat the poop. It’s like getting two meals for the price of one.

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