These are really bad photos, but I was chasing this animal around a large ‘garden’ in Gobabis, eastern Namibia, at night with no flash, just light from the house. And he moved fast.
But it’s the story of having seen it at all. I was very lucky. The people I was staying with, who live here, have never seen one. They live exclusively underground, so no idea what this fellow was doing above.
One of my email circles is a group of 3, and the subject of the mole rat has come up a bunch of times, really. One of us is a zoologist, and I’m keen on anything interesting, and the third is only very mildly interested in flora/fauna, and in particular he hates when the mole rat comes up, because he thinks they’re gross.
As it turns out, my encounter was with a Damaraland mole rat.
Damaraland mole-rats live in networks of tunnels, which they dig with their front teeth. The tunnels are 65 to 75 mm (2.6 to 3.0 in) in diameter, and may stretch for up to 1 km (0.62 mi) below the ground. They have no connection to the surface, although their presence can be inferred from dome-shaped molehills of excavated earth pushed up to the surface. As a result, the tunnels develop their own microclimate containing warm, moist air, with low oxygen levels.
For more Damaraland mole rat