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Interesting Animal Facts: Beavers and Mole-Rats

During the wintertime, beavers are quite similar to bears (without hibernation), as they live off of food that they have previously stored away. The animals also maintain through the deposits of fat located in their tails. In this article, you will learn more about these innovative builders, as well as the eastern African mole-rat.

Beavers

To save their energy, beavers avoid venturing out into the cold and instead, choose to stay in the darkness of their dwellings , usually inside of a pile of wood and mud. Because of this, the beaver (which is actually a rodent like the mouse) abandons its normal emergence at sunset and does not have the convenience of utilizing light cues associated with their sleep cycle. The beaver’s biological sense of time is off , forcing he or she to establish what is called a “free running circadian rhythm” that consists of 29-hour days. In the end, the winter day for a beaver gets much longer than normal.

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about beavers, check out the following facts:

5 Beaver Facts

1.    The front teeth of a beaver don’t stop growing. In order to maintain an acceptable length, beavers must constantly use their teeth to gnaw, chew, and chop.

2.    When it comes to the infamous dam of a beaver, the entrance to their home is underwater, which helps keep other animals away. Beavers swim under the water to enter their home and can stay submerged for about 15 minutes.

3.    The average life span of a beaver is 19 years. Mating for life, this creature is known as a highly social animal , working and living with other beavers in harmony.

4.    Many years ago, the fur, musk glands and tail of the beaver were especially sought after. The fur was used to make clothing. The musk glands served as a perfume and were used in some medicines. The tail was also eaten and used as an ingredient in some dishes.

5.    The North American beaver is the second largest rodent in the world and chooses to live in only a handful of location across the globe, such as North America, Scandinavia, Russia and Geneva.

Mole-Rats

The mole-rat of Africa has a reputation for being one of the blindest of rodents , mainly because they live underground and possess tiny, squinty eyes. They have always been thought to detect very little light. Scientists have said that the mole-rats use their eyes more for detecting changes in air currents without actually relying on them for sight. However, recent studies conducted over the past couple of years suggest that African mole-rats actually have a sharp sense of sight. Based on a November 2006 Animal Behaviour report, sensing light sends a message to the mole-rats that a predator may have found its way into their tunnel. To learn more about mole-rats, consider the following facts:

5 Facts About Mole-Rats

1.    A mole-rat possesses very little hair and what they do have comes in the form of whiskers and hair located on their feet. Their skin is wrinkly, displaying a shade of pink or greyish-pink. To excavate tunnels, mole rats use a pair of rather large incisors.

2.    The mole-rat dwells in the eastern part of Africa , in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

3.    When reproducing, the mole-rat produces 10 to 27 pups after a cycle of 70 to 80 days.

4.    Mole-rats are the only known mammal classified as ‘eusocial’ , living in a colony similar to termites and ants. They also adopt a caste system with colonies that include 20 to 300 members. Only one breeding female (called the queen) exists in a colony with one to three breeding males. The rest of the colony serve as workers or soldiers.

5.    A mole-rat can live up to the ripe old age of 30 years old.

Source: Life Science