Friday, February 5, 2016
Mole rats are not easy animals to identify individually. Unlike animals with anatomical features that can be marked and tagged, naked mole rats have internal ears and sensitive tails. A leg band could simply be chewed off.
Sharpie markers. Animal Care used a combination of colors and ink placement on the mole rats’ skin. However, the ink had to be refreshed monthly as the marks easily faded from the animals’ thin and stretchy skin. After five years, we searched for a more permanent method to identify the naked mole rats.
tattooed. We were very hopeful about this technique, but unfortunately tattoos were not a magical solution. The mole rats’ skin is so thin that the subcutaneous ink bled and the markings ran together. Furthermore, we had a large number of mole rats that were too young to be tattooed at that time. They have never been marked.
In October, our veterinarian Dr. Maas implanted microchips in three of the unmarked naked mole rats as a test. Noting their success, we next had a group of 24 chipped. All seem to be thriving.