These little blind and in-the-buff guys are becoming some real exhibitionists.
The naked mole-rats at the Smithsonian National Zoo are getting a second live webcam to show virtual visitors some behind-the-scenes action at the colony, it was announced Thursday.
According to the Zoo, the new webcam focuses on the tunnel that links the different chambers of the naked mole-rat exhibit together — one of the busiest spots in the colony, as seen in the still frame above.
It goes live Friday at 11 a.m. And the mole-rats are getting some “‘Game of Thrones’-themed enrichment” to celebrate, the Zoo says.
A naked mole-rat colony has one queen. The queen is the only member who breeds. And due to their colony-based social structure, there are sometimes bloody battles for control of that “throne,” so to speak.
Those fights that break out during selection of a female to ascend to rat royalty are called “mole-rat wars.”
For a new queen to arise, the other queen must die by her teeth/claws/tail.
You can probably guess where this is going.
“When the Zoo’s naked mole-rat colony first arrived in 2018, they were in the process of selecting a queen,” the Zoo said in a news release.
One female was bigger than the others and officially became the queen in December after her first litter of pups. She’s had eight more since then.
But in the process of selecting a queen, four naked mole-rats died in the war.
“Fights between mole-rats when a colony is slightly less stable, such as the time when they are selecting a queen, are normal for the species in zoos and the wild,” the Zoo said.
The naked mole-rats, including the pups, live at the Small Mammal House. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The webcams stream live 24 hours a day.