Ugly is the New Adorable.
Location: Primate World
Having looks that only a mother could love with pinkish skin, a hairless body and buck teeth that orthodontists dream about, naked mole rats (NMRs) still seem to capture the imagination and sympathy of many zoo-goers. Ever since the NMRs left the Zoo collection half a decade ago, guests have continually inquired into whether they might return. Now, local NMR fan clubs are cheering their return!
You can find the NMR exhibit in the Zoo’s Primate World building. With a subterranean look and feel created by Zoo designers, the exhibit gives guests a mole rats’ point of view of their intricate and strict hierarchical castes, from the everyday workers, to the soldiers and their Queen and her courtesans. Inside the exhibit are 21 naked mole rats, scurrying about and living the destinies they are born into in their mole rat lives.
Even as guests enter Zoo grounds and make their way up to the exhibit at Primate World, larger-than-life mole rat cutouts teach you of their social roles as NMRs are whimsically pictured portraying the different social castes they are in. This light-hearted feel is reinforced with graphics at the exhibit that enable guests to take a “self-help” styled quiz to find out which NMR job they are best suited for. Naked Mole Rats: not pretty…but pretty fun!