Sabre tooted sausage The Naked Molerat

Naked Mole rat Heterocephalus glaber

The naked mole rat is unique in the animal kingdom as it is a mammal that uses eusocial behaviour like wasps, ants, bees and termites where there is a single queen and a number of workers.

The queen can give birth to up to 19 babies.
What is even more unusual is all the females in the colony are able to reproduce but their ovulation is suppressed by pheromones and physical presents.

I spent months filming these sabre tooted sausages. They will eat their way through anything so I had special chambers and tunnels made out of dental cement lined with African soil and roots.

I used an endoscope to get in amongst them. To start with they would bite the end of the lens thinking it was a predator coming to attack the colony.

Members of the colony will sacrifice themselves in order to protect the Queen.
My task was to film for the first time the Queen Naked molerat giving birth.
Gradually over the months the Mole rats got used to my movements and smell and would start to behave normally.

I managed to film some fascinating behaviour with Dr Chris Faulkes who is studying / researching the Naked Mole rats and we got some good sequences of the workers forming a digging chain with one worker mining at the tunnel face and passing the soil back down the line from one to another, soldiers would guard strategic tunnels ready to attack any intruder.

In the wild they will find a tuber and take to food back to the colony.
They won't eat the whole tuber, instead they leave it to recover so that they could return months or years later.

For the TV series "The Sexual Imperative" I waited 21 days around the clock to film the birth and finally got it. I later filmed a colony of Nated Mole-rats for the David Attenbourough's BBC "Mammals" series
The Queen will lactate for about a week, after that the babies will be brought solid food by its brothers and sisters.
Nated Mole rat interesting facts
9-12cm long
Can live up to 25 years old
Only one female in a colony breed, and her offspring become workers or soldiers, helping dig the burrows in search of tubers underground.
Naked mole-rats live in social colonies of about 80 individuals (occasionally up to 300) underground, digging tunnels to find roots and tubers. After rain the ground is soft enough to dig (using the incisors), but rain is rare and may only fall every few months. The colony 'farms' tubers by eating part of them and then blocking the tunnel to let them regenerate, helping guarantee a constant food supply. In each colony a single female and 1-3 males breed, whilst the rest remain as workers, helping provision the colony.

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