East Africa: Southeast Ethiopia, Eastern Kenya and Somalia
Underground only - animals will come to the surface to migrate to new groups. Usually 70 - 80 to a colony with 7-inch deep and single passage - 20 inch 2-lane passages. In grasslands and savannas.
Wild: Tubers and roots only, wild species east sweet potatoes. All moisture comes from food. Young eat a form of feces called a cecotroph to obtain beneficial bacteria that aids digestion.
Zoo: Rodent pellets, yam, apple, carrot, corn, banana, kale
about 10 weeks, pups can walk in a few hours and east solid food at 3-4 weeks
Usually 3 to 15 pups. Can have up to 4-5 litters per year
As much as 23 years in captivity. Snakes are the main predator.
Four protruding teeth on the outside of the lips. Eyes are almost useless. Ears are just holes in the skin. Wrinkled pinkish skin. 3 - 4 inches long, weighs 102 grams. Largely hairless, although covered by some thin hairs that are sensitive to vibration.
Behavior: Lives in a large colony and has a cooperative social structure. It is a burrowing rodent, virtually blind, and never eats food above ground. Only mammal with a social organization similar to bees, ants, and termites.
Reproduction: The colony is dominated by the only breeding female or queen. The queen has 1 to 3 mates. She mates almost every 3 months within about 1 week of her last litter.
Did You Know?
- It is a rodent, as are rats, squirrels, capybara, guinea pig, etc.
- Also called "Sand Puppies."
- Very dependent on each other - called eusocial behavior like ants and bees.
- Incisors can be moved separately or together, and lips close behind them to keep out dirt.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the African Elephant Crossing at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.