The one that digs with its teeth - News - Gondwana Collection


Gondwana's Newsroom

The one that digs with its teeth

Avatar of koney koney - 10. March 2020 - Environment

The presence of Damara mole-rats is revealed by dome-shaped mounds of soil which are up to 30 cm high. Especially in the rainy season a lot of fresh mounds can be seen because it is the time when mole-rats are the most active.

Dirk Heinrich

As soon as it rains and the earth is wet, the damara mole rat (Fukomys damarensis) starts digging its tunnels. They do this with their long front teeth and back legs. They also use their teeth to defend themselves against enemies. They feed mainly on roots, tubers, and plants. Moles, on the other hand, feed on earthworms and insects.   

According to Prof. Jennifer Jarvis from the University of Cape Town, only three species of mole rats are found in Namibia. Of these, the damara mole rat is the most common. The bocage’s mole-rat (Cryptomys bocagei) is very little researched so far, and has only been fond in Ondjeva, Ongha and Ondongera regions in central northern Namibia. The namaqua dune mole rat (Bathyergus janetta) is native to sandy areas and dunes near the Orange River in the south.

The male damara mole rat is slightly larger and heavier than the female, but both sexes have a short thick coat and usually a different sized white patch on the head. In a colony, only one female and one or two males are capable of mating. They are very eusocial and they form social associations. The damara mole rat has only been sighted by very few people in the wild. They come to the surface very rarely and only when it is dark. The small heaps of sand reveal the presence of these small animals. The mole snake and some cobra species are among the enemies of the grey mole. 

For more information please visit Namibia Outdoor.

New comment


Stay up-to-date with our monthly 'Gondwana Tracks' Newsletter Sign up Today