Magnetic compass orientation in the subterranean rodent Cryptomys hottentotus (Bathyergidae)

Experientia. 1990 May 15;46(5):528-30. doi: 10.1007/BF01954256.


To test whether mole-rats Cryptomys hottentotus were able to use the magnetic field for orientation, laboratory experiments were conducted which were based on the animals' spontaneous tendency to build their nests at the same position in a circular arena. In the local geomagnetic field, the animals preferred the SE-sector. When magnetic north was turned by 120 degrees or by 180 degrees, the mole-rats changed their nest position accordingly. This clearly shows that they can use the magnetic field for direction finding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Magnetics*
  • Nesting Behavior
  • Orientation*
  • Rodentia / physiology
  • Rodentia / psychology*