Monday, July 29, 2013

Turnip Tale

Like many urban farmers, Life Sciences Manager Sarah Moore has a thriving garden at home. Recently when she discovered a behemoth turnip accidently growing in her greenhouse she thought, “Now who might be interested in a 2.5-kilo turnip?”

While extremely large vegetables are often unpalatable to humans, the naked mole rats could have a great time with the monster tuber. So Sarah brought the giant tuber to work.

Sometimes big root vegetables will have some not-so-nice things hidden inside. So before we placed the turnip in the mole rat compound, we washed it, and dug into the center jack-o-lantern style. We easily determined that the turnip was insect free.

Next we dug a few cavities into the sides, filled them with dough and placed the turnip in one of the chambers. The smell of the dough and turnip immediately awoke the colony. Within minutes, they were feasting.

Here at Pacific Science Center naked mole rats rarely have the opportunity to actually burrow into their vegetables. Every so often it’s nice for them to have some natural enrichment to keep their innate behaviors strong.

Happy eating, guys!

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