The forbidding environment of East Africa’s deserts is home to one of the most bizarre rodents: the naked mole-rat. These beauties wouldn’t win any pageants, but they are fascinating animals. Yes, these odd little creatures with pink, wrinkly skin dig and live in underground burrows the way moles do. Yes, they have skinny, rat-like tails. Yet naked mole-rats are more closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs than they are to moles or rats and are the only species of mole-rat that has practically no hair!
Why are they "naked"? As underground dwellers, they don't need hair for sun protection. It's hard to see, but naked mole-rats do have about 100 fine hairs on their body that act like whiskers to help feel what's around them. Hairs between their toes help sweep soil behind them while tunneling.
Watch these ever-busy animals scurry through their Plexiglass tunnels in the Children’s Zoo.