, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 71-74

Tool use by naked mole-rats

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Abstract

Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber, Rodentia: Bathyergidae) excavate extensive subterranean burrows with their procumbent incisors. Captive individuals often place a wood shaving or tuber husk behind their incisor teeth and in front of their lips and molar teeth while gnawing on substrates that yield fine particulate debris. This oral barrier may prevent choking or aspiration of foreign material. Consistent use of tools has rarely been reported in rodents.

Received: 14 February 1998 / Accepted after revision: 9 April 1998