MOLE-RAT, the name of a group of blind burrowing rodents, typified by the large grey Spalax typhlus of eastern Europe and Egypt, which represents the Old World family Spalacidae. All the mole-rats of the genus Spalax are characterized by the want of distinct necks, small or rudimentary ears and eyes, and short limbs provided with powerful digging claws. There are three pairs of cheek-teeth which are rooted, and show folds of enamel on the crown. Mble-rats are easily recognized by the peculiarly flattened head, in which the minute eyes are covered with skin, the wart-like ears, and rudimentary tail; they make burrows in sandy soil, and feed on bulbs and roots. Bamboorats, of which one genus (Rhizomys) is Indian and Burmese, and the other (Tachyoryctes) East African, differ by the absence of skin over the eyes, the presence of short ears, and a short, sparsely-haired tail. They burrow either among tall grass, or at the roots of trees (see RODENTIA).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)