class: mammal
We Finally Know How Naked Mole Rats Survive Without Oxygen, and It's Really Freaking Weird
Naked mole rats ( Heterocephalus glaber ) have never been the most conventional mammal - the scrotum-looking creatures are resistant to cancer , can survive almost 20 minutes without oxygen, and can barely feel pain .
By Carly Cassella

Instead of sticking to a glucose-based system, which is dependent on oxygen, when a naked mole rat is deprived of oxygen, it switches its metabolism so that its brain cells start burning fructose for energy instead of glucose.  

Fructose can be turned into energy anaerobically - which means it doesn’t require the presence of oxygen to be broken down into cellular energy.

Until now, this anaerobic pathway was thought only to be used by plants.  


An endangered snow leopard named Rilu at the @MillerParkZoo.
Snow leopards have adapted to live in some of the most frigid environments on Earth. They have an incredibly strong and agile body and a white coat with black markings that blends in perfectly with their mountainside homes in central Asia. Their long thick tails can be wrapped around their bodies for warmth, and are also used to help with balance.
These big cats once ruled the Central Asian mountains, however their population has shrunk by at least 20% over the past 16 years. Poaching and illegal trade have contributed to the loss of this species over the years, as well as overstocking of the fragile, high altitude grasslands with livestock where these cats once thrived. Overstocking leads to a decline in wild prey for snow leopards, and when they turn to livestock to eat they are often shot on sight.
The good news is that snow leopards are protected throughout most of their range, and CITIES has made hunting and trading of their body parts illegal. The International @SnowLeopardTrust and Snow Leopard Conservancy are two organizations working hard to create a multi-faceted approach to the conservation of this species.
To see still images of this beautiful cat, check out @joelsartore!


An endangered Hispaniolan solenodon at Parque Zoológico Nacional in the Dominican Republic.
This is one of the only venomous mammals on Earth. The second lower incisor tooth of this animal is grooved and can be used to deliver a venomous saliva. Hispaniolan solenodons have patches of skin full of apocrine glands on their thighs that are used to communicate with other individuals through scent. Like many species in the Dominican Republic, the most significant threat to this animal is the destruction of its habitat.
To see an image of this solenodon, check out @joelSartore!


The sun bear, as was mentioned before, is the smallest species of bear in the world, but don’t let their small size fool you.  Sun bears are known for being exceptionally aggressive, and there are stories of them attacking humans without provocation.  With their powerful foreclaws, jaw muscles, and massive teeth, they are formidable animals, and are considered one of the Asian rainforest’s most dangerous animals.  This ferocity is not limited to humans, either; most male bears caught in the wild show bite marks and scars on their hides, clearly from vicious fights with other bears.


jaguar Rica artis BB2A7996 by safi kok

Happy #WorldPangolinDay! These amazing animals are found in Africa and Asia, and all 8 species are at risk of #extinction from poaching. They are illegally taken from the wild primarily for their scales which are used in traditional Chinese medicines. I saw this pangolin in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but sadly it was being sold at a market. These fascinating creatures need to be respected in the wild, where they feed on millions of ants and termites.

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