It’s never quiet in a naked mole rat colony. Social animals chirp and murmur together in a cacophony.
There are at least seventeen types of mole rat sounds. The soft chirp appears to be a mole rat salute. In turn, the animals respond to greeting each other. Discover biologists Each mole rat colony has its own distinct accent for this greeting. Tweets from their colony were responded to with more enthusiasm in tests than those by a stranger. Some of the orphan mice placed in another “science” colony soon adopted the dialect of their colony. When a queen dies, the tone is briefly softened. But once it succeeds and restores order, everyone speaks again in the same tone.
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on February 13, 2021
A copy of this article also appeared on nrc.next on February 13, 2021