Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna

With their pink hairless bodies and fangs for front teeth, these baby naked mole rats were never going to win any cuteness contests at Schonbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.

But the weird youngsters are to become the stars of a new display that shows how the bizarre rodents live.

Zoologists say the species, whose colonies are ruled by a queen rat, has more in touch with ant colonies than many other rodents or mammals living in underground communities.

The Vienna zoo director Dagmar Schratter explained: “We have a new underground network of tunnels that people can watch them run through.

“You’ll be able to see how a whole colony is run and co-operates.”

She added: “We realise they’re a bit of a challenge in the looks department and they won’t give pandas much competition, but they’re fascinating animals.”

The youngsters – now two-months-old and just 5cm long – will not be weaned from their mother until December and will double in size on a diet of roots and veg.

Schratter said: “If you can get over first impressions they’re really pretty cute.”

The animals, which can live longer than 30 years, are native to parts of eastern Africa and are used to living in a harsh underground environments, which they navigate around using whiskers on their nose and tails.