This long-living rodent is possibly the weirdest animal world record holder ever!

The naked mole rat is a weird creature that may make you want to look closer or to cringe away in disgust. What on Earth is this strange and ugly creature?

There are few creatures more ugly and weird than the naked mole rat.
There are few creatures more ugly and weird than the naked mole rat.  © IMAGO/Pond5 Images

Out of the many world record-holding animals, few even come close to the ugliness of the naked mole rat.

It may be a visually repugnant creature, but at the same time, it has unusual cuteness that's hard to explain.

The naked mole rat is worth our attention, even if it can be a bit hard on the eyes.

What is the world's longest living rodent?

The animal world record holder for longest-lived rodent is the naked mole rat, also known as the heterocephalus glaber. These tiny little dudes can live up to 28 years, typically subsisting in underground burrows with a variety of other naked mole rats, which interact in a complex social system. They were awarded the record by Guinness World Records.

Known by many as a sand puppy, these burrowing creatures typically live in harsh and sandy burrows dug beneath the grass plains of Kenya, Somalia, and other countries in the horn of Africa. They are not particularly big, generally sitting at around 3-4 inches in length and weighing up to 1.2 ounces.

Famous for their lack of fur, from which they get part of their name, these strange creatures have evolved to survive in harsh environments. They have developed as the only mammals to have cold blood and are capable of holding their breath for insane amounts of time.

Let's be real: apart from its official animal world record, this revolting-yet-fascinating creature has some pretty weird traits.

The naked mole rat is long living, but also pretty weird!

There is a lot more to the naked mole rat than its lack of fur, ugly looks, and extraordinarily long life span. Having developed under some pretty harsh conditions, these strange creatures have evolved to become what they are today – including some pretty weird characteristics and abilities.

Some of the naked mole rat's weirdest traits include:

  • The naked mole rat is covered in fine hairs that help them navigate extremely dark tunnels deep underground.
  • Their bodies are capable of running as fast backwards as they can forwards.
  • These ridiculous creatures are capable of surviving for more than 20 minutes without breathing any oxygen, likely due to their habitat being tunnels underground.
  • They feature two insanely big front teeth, far bigger than your average rat or mouse. These teeth are designed to prevent soil from entering their mouths as they dig their tunnels.
  • The body temperature of the naked mole rat is maintained through a thermoconformer system. This means that their body temperature follows the ambient temperature around them rather than self-regulating.
  • Naked mole rats do not have neurotransmitters on their skin, meaning they do not feel pain on the outside.
  • While the average age of the naked mole rat sits at around 28 years, they have been known to live longer than even 37 years.
  • Due to genetic characteristics, the naked mole rat is resistant to cancer.

Out of the many strange characteristics that turn the naked mole rat into a true animal kingdom outsider, its long life is something worth celebrating. After all, it's gotta have something to celebrate, right?

Cover photo: IMAGO/Pond5 Images

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