The cat ‘rat’ with nine lives

World of Animals - - Super Seniors -

As bizarre as naked mole rats may look on the out­side, their ge­net­ics are even weirder. While the av­er­age pet ham­ster lives for two to three years, and a good age for a guinea pig is eight, these crit­ters can live for al­most three decades, eas­ily mak­ing them the long­est-lived ro­dents.

Mole rats, or blesmols, as they’re more com­monly known in Africa, where they live, be­have more like in­sects than mam­mals. They in­habit vast sub­ter­ranean labyrinths with a sin­gle breed­ing queen. ev­ery in­di­vid­ual per­forms a role that serves the wider colony, just like bees and ants. They’re in­cred­i­bly tough crit­ters, able to sur­vive on very lit­tle oxy­gen, en­dure high pain lev­els and even re­sist many forms of cancer. All of which goes a long way to ex­plain­ing their longevity.

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