The reproductive biology of the giant Zambian mole-rat, Cryptomys mechowi (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)

  • N.C. Bennett
  • G.H. Aguilar


Cryptomys mechowi occurs in the mesic Miombo tropical woodland and savanna of Zambia, Zaïre and Angola. It is a colonial balhyergid in which reproduction is restricted lo a single female. Courtship and copulation are initiated by the female. Copulation is brief and does not involve multiple bouts. The gestation length is 97–111 days (n = 2). The newborn pups are altricial and the litter sizes small, averaging 1,6 ± 0,5 (n = 5). The pups begin to wander out of the nest when 10 days old, begin to eal solids after 20 days and are fully weaned after 35 days. The growth of C. mechowi pups is best described by the Gompertz model. The growth rate for the first 80 days of postnatal growth is 0,8 to 0,94 g/day, whereas for the first 275 days this rate is 0,7 to 0,84 g/day. The reproductive biology of the giant Zambian mole-rat is compared with that of other species of southern and central African Cryptomys.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020