A group of common mole rats

Mole rats

Mole rats are rodents that are highly evolved for a life spent digging elaborate, underground burrow systems. They excavate tunnels with their mouths, using powerful, enlarged incisors. Most mole rats have loose skin covered in sensitive hairs, which allows forward and reverse movement in very tight spaces. Like most fossorial animals their eyesight is poor, however the eye's surface can sense air currents. All 22 species of mole rat currently identified live in sub-Saharan Africa, although as these species are easily separated geographically, new species arise rapidly. The Damaraland mole rat and naked mole rat are the only known eusocial mammals.

Scientific name: Bathyergidae

Rank: Family

Common names:

  • African mole-rats,
  • Blesmoles,
  • Blesmols


Map showing the distribution of the Mole rats taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Mole rats can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.