mole rat

[mohl-rat]
noun
1.
any of several eastern European burrowing rodents, especially those of the genus Spalax, having no tail, short limbs, and small eyes with permanently closed lids.
2.
bandicoot ( def 2 ).
Also, mole-rat, molerat.


Origin:
1775–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To mole rat
Collins
World English Dictionary
mole rat
 
n
1.  any burrowing molelike African rodent of the family Bathyergidae
2.  any similar rodent, esp any member of the genus Spalax, of Asia and North Africa: family Spalacidae
3.  See bandicoot the bandicoot rat

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

mole rat

any of about a dozen species of burrowing African rodents that live in arid regions south of the Sahara (desert). Blesmols are highly adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They appear virtually neckless, having strong, blunt heads with incisor teeth protruding forward beyond the mouth. The teeth are used for digging, and the mouth can be closed behind the front teeth, which prevents ingestion of soil as the animals dig. Their stocky, cylindrical bodies have short limbs and large feet. The outer borders of the hind feet are fringed with stiff hairs that aid in pushing soil rearward. The forefeet bear small claws, except for the long, strong front claws of the dune blesmols (genus Bathyergus). The eyes are very small, and there are no external ears, only openings that are either hidden by fur or surrounded by bare or thickened skin. Blesmols have an acute sense of hearing, however, and they are very sensitive to ground vibrations.

Learn more about mole rat with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
What brought this diverse group together was research on the blind mole rat, a furry sausage with comically prominent teeth.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature