Did You Know

Photo: Trevor Hardaker


The Cape Dune Mole-Rat (Bathyergus suillus) is the largest completely underground mammal in Africa and can grow to over 2kg in weight. It is found in soft coastal sands of the Western Cape.  It is adapted for digging with strong claws on the feet and a fringe of stiff hair on the tail and outside edges of the feet to control the soil while digging. The mole-rat has large protruding incisor teeth and the lips close behind the grooved teeth, which stops the mole-rat from swallowing sand while digging or feeding. This rat feeds on underground roots and bulbs and is a menace in many a coastal garden. It has been suggested that ramming dog poo down its burrow will send it to the neighbour’s garden.