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The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), also known as the sand puppy,[4] is a burrowing rodent native to the Horn of Africa and parts of Kenya, notably in Somali regions. It is closely related to the blesmols and is the only species in the genus Heterocephalus.[5]

Quick facts: Naked mole-rat Temporal range 4.3–0 Ma ...
Naked mole-rat
Temporal range: 4.3–0 Ma
Early Pliocene - Recent[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Parvorder: Phiomorpha
Family: Heterocephalidae
Landry, 1957; Patterson, 2014
Genus: Heterocephalus
Rüppell, 1842[3]
Species:
H. glaber
Binomial name
Heterocephalus glaber
Distribution of the naked mole-rat
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Various aged naked mole-rats.

The naked mole-rat exhibits a highly unusual set of physiological and behavioral traits that allow it to thrive in a harsh underground environment; most notably its being the only mammalian thermoconformer with an almost entirely ectothermic (cold-blooded) form of body temperature regulation,[6] as well as exhibiting a complex social structure split between reproductive and non-reproductive castes, making it and the closely-related Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) the only widely recognized examples of eusociality (the highest classification of sociality) in mammals.[7][8] The naked mole-rat lacks pain sensitivity in its skin, and has very low metabolic and respiratory rates. It is also remarkable for its longevity and its resistance to cancer and oxygen deprivation.

While formerly considered to belong to the same family as other African mole-rats, Bathyergidae, more recent investigation places it in a separate family, Heterocephalidae.[9][10][11]

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