Naked Mole-Rat Exhibit Opening at Zoo This Weekend

Un Nuevo Día

The National Zoo is getting some new residents who like to let it all hang out. 

A new exhibit featuring a colony of 17 naked mole-rats will open Sept. 1 at the zoo's Small Mammal House. 

Can't make it to the zoo? No worries. 

A 24-hour webcam will let guests watch as the nearly blind mole-rats navigate through 25 feet of tunnels in their new habitat. 

Naked mole-rats live in large colonies made up of workers and a queen. But the zoo's new colony has yet to select a queen. Zoo offficials say there is a female who is larger than the others, and they expect her to emerge as queen as the group settles into their new home. 

After a queen is selected, she will breed and give birth to the colony's offspring. The last time a naked mole-rat was born at the zoo was in 1996. 

"There is plenty of space and opportunity for this colony to grow," said Steve Sarro, curator of Small Mammals. "And we’re hoping that is exactly what will happen, so if you visit several times you’ll be able to see the colony change over time."

The Small Mammal House is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. 

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