Colonies of Heterocepahlus glaber are found in the horn of Africa. H. glaber belongs to the family Bathyergidae, a family of mole rats that are found throughout africa. the members of the family range in social structure and size from the Cape Dune Mole Mole rat, a solitary mole rat weighing in at an average of 2000g per animal, to the tiny eusocial Naked Mole Rat which has an average weight of 35g.1

The Naked Mole Rat lives mostly in the horn of Africa, in the hot and arid landscapes of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.2 The soils of these lands are very hard. Theorists have speculated that the small size of Naked Mole Rats allows them to dig small tunnels (About 4 inches in diameter, small in relation to the tunnels of the immense cape dune mole rat) through the soil.3 Studies which have found that the energy expenditure of constructing a burrow system is mostly dependent upon the size of tunnel constructed support these theories.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_mole_rat

Tunnels systems constructed by naked mole rats can extend to up to 2 miles in length. Mole rat tunnels provide the circumstances for their entire existence: tunnesl are sealed off from the outside world, and only rarely do rats expose themselves to the surface. Thus the oxygen content of the tunnels is extemely low, and animals huddle in piles to maintain body temperature.

Naked mole-rats mostly live in the arid areas of southern Africa, where their preferred food (roots and tubers) are dispersed with larger gaps between the patches that in the mesic environments.4


1. Bennett and Faulkes, 2000, Ch. 4
2. Bennett and Faulkes, 2000, Ch. 1
3. Bennett and Faulkes, 2000, Ch. 4
4. Bennett and Faulkes, 2000, Ch. 6