Animals have amazing skills that help them adapt to almost any environment. Despite this fact, oxygen is necessary for most creatures in the world. Apparently, it is not a necessity for naked mole rats. These rodents don’t need oxygen to survive, at least for a while. A team of researchers discovered that the naked mole rat is able to survive without oxygen a lot more than normal rodents do.
Naked Mole Rats Survive Anoxia and Hypoxia
The incredible animals can survive when there is little oxygen in the room. To test their skills, researchers put these rats in a chamber where there was less than 5% of oxygen. An environment like this is called hypoxia. While other mice and rodents die after 15 minutes in a place like this, the naked mole rat can survive for more than 5 hours.
In another test, the scientists took it even further. They put the rats in a place with no oxygen. This time, the rats managed to survive anoxia. This type of environment can kill a human in 10 minutes and a rodent in less than a minute. The naked mole rats managed to survive almost 18 minutes.
Researchers observed that the rodent stopped breathing, but its heart was still beating normally. Their heart beat was normal after they were exposed to air filled with oxygen. This shows that they have amazing survival skills.
The scientists that conducted this study believe that this rat developed this ability because it lives underground. Naked mole rats are used to living in a place where there is little oxygen because they live in big colonies. This way, they have managed to minimize the need for oxygen.
Another interesting thing was observed. When there is not oxygen, the rodents change their metabolic process. Frequently, they rely on glucose for energy, just like mammals. When they have to survive anoxia, they start running on fructose, as plants do. These are the only animals that can allow fructose to fuel their hearts and brains. Humans and mammals can produce a small amount of fructose.
What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that these naked mole rats are so tough?
Image source: Flickr