Words are not sufficient to describe how truly odd these animals are. For a long-term study project in a zoology class I took in my Junior year of high school, I chose to study the naked mole rats at the Oregon Zoo.

The nest, filled with little pink hairless squinty-eyed rodents, is quite a sight to see. There are two important rooms in the nest -- the toilet room and the sleeping room, in which a large writhing pile of mole rats somehow manages to rest while climbing and clawing over and under and between one another.

In addition to their evolutionary peculiarities, mole rats have very intriguing behavioral peculiarities. If you look closely at a colony of mole rats, you'll notice that some of them have no tails. This is because, from time to time, a mole rat traveling backwards in a tunnel will bump into a mole rat traveling forwards, and the latter will grab the former's tail and then drag it through various tunnels until the confused victim manages to get free. Quite often, getting free means leaving the tail behind. I'm not sure what prompts this behavior.

You will also often see a mole rat pooping into another mole rat's eagerly awaiting mouth. It is apparently some sort of status symbol to eat the queen's poop in this manner.

In any case, when they're not biting tails off and eating poop, mole rats are disturbingly cute animals, despite being hideously ugly at the same time.

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