Myospalax


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Myospalax

 

(mole-rats), a genus of rodents of the subfamily Cricetinae. The body measures 15–27 cm in length, and the tail, 3–7 cm. Mole-rats lack external ears and have very small eyes. The claws on the front extremities are enlarged and adapted to burrowing. The fur is of a single color, usually brownish or ash gray. The guard hairs are not developed.

The genus embraces five species, which are distributed in southern Siberia and Central and East Asia. The USSR has two species, which are found in southwestern Siberia, the Altai, Transbaikalia, and the Primor’e, in plains-and mountain-steppe regions. The animals are subterranean and dig complex burrows as much as 3 m deep. They feed on underground parts of plants. In some places they are harmful to crops. Their hides are dressed, although the fur is second-rate.