Pantophlet, J., McClusky, D. 2022. Compressed paper column housing enrichment for Naked Mole-rats. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 10(5) (September/October), 42-44.

Naked Mole-rats are relative newcomers in the research world. Due to the complexity of their natural subterranean tunneling system, it has been difficult to replicate in the laboratory environment. Housing standards often differ from the hard solidified lateritic loam soils and pure gypsum of Naked Mole-rats’ natural habitat. Usually, the animals are kept in wood shavings, corn cob, corn husks, grasses, or paper towel in captivity, which can limit opportunities for species-appropriate behavior. Here we hope to offer evidence supporting a new potential substrate for the NMR in the laboratory setting that supports an increased biological relevance. “Within one night, the animals had carved a tunnel system that spiraled through the paper column and out the top of it, shoveling the excavated material out the top. For the first time, we could afford the animals the ability to move not only on a two-dimensional plane but vertically as well. In the future, we hope to upscale this project to enable a complete colony control of the construction of their burrowing system.”

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