Thursday, May 21, 2009

Zoo Atlanta's Naked Mole Rat Queen Gives Birth

Zoo Atlanta’s naked mole rat queen has given birth to her first litter of pups.
The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams discovered at least six
newborn members of the Zoo’s strangest animal society on May 19.

Hairless, sightless and roughly an inch long, the new arrivals are estimated
to weigh between 1 and 2 grams. The pups have already been observed
crawling over a tight formation of adult colony members, who remain huddled
in the nest for the infants’ warmth and protection.

The queen may nurse her offspring for up to 2 months, but the entire colony
is tasked with their care. Workers are also responsible for the transport of
the pups in the event that the queen selects a new nesting area. The pups’
eyes should open at 20 to 30 days, at which time the juveniles may also start
eating solid foods.

To avoid disrupting the colony, the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams
will wait days before resuming any maintenance activities that could
disturb the queen or her pups. Fortunately, there’s no wait for curious guests!
Visitors can see the Zoo’s unusual underground family and their exciting additions
in their habitat daily.

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