EnglishShow more Transferred use of general English molerat a name applied to any rodent of the Spalacidae, or (British dialect) to the common mole; named for its burrowing habits.
1. Any of several species of rodent of the Bathyergidae, especially a.the sand-moleBathyergus suillus;b.the Common molerat (see sense 2 below); andc.the Cape molerat (see sense 2 below).
In early writings, molerats are usually called ‘moles’ (see quotation 1980).
[1795C.R. Hopsontr. ofC.P. Thunberg’s Trav.I. 213The gardens both within and without the town, suffer great devastation from three or four different species of rats, which are generally termed moles...Moles also are found in the sand-downs near the town.]
1963S.H. SkaifeNaturalist Remembers 72In South Africa there is a family of rodents which have taken to a life underground and become mole-rats.
1972C.M. Van der Westhuizen inStd Encycl. of Sn Afr.VII. 490Mole-rats, (Bathyergidae), an entirely African family of rodents, are widely distributed in Africa.
1980C.J. SkeadHist. Mammal IncidenceI. 20Mole and Molerat, These two groups, the first belonging to the Insectivora, the second to the Rodentia, have been confused in early writings. Where mole has been indicated for the tunnelers in the soft sandveld of the Western Province the blesmol, Georychus capensis or dune mole-rat, is intended.
1988M. BranchExplore Cape Flora 24It can take days to dig up and follow the burrows of a huge Cape dune mole rat, for they run 30 centimetres below the surface and are about a third of a kilometre long.
1990Skinner & SmithersMammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 188Cape dune molerat,..They are called the Cape dune molerat as they are confined in their distribution to the Cape Province.
1972C.M. Van der Westhuizen inStd Encycl. of Sn Afr.VII. 491Of the six genera of African mole-rats, three occur in South Africa. The Cape dune-mole...The Cape mole-rat (Georychus capensis)...The Common mole-rat (Cryptomys).
1990Skinner & SmithersMammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 196Cape molerat,..The species was described originally from the Cape, hence the association of their name with this area. The Afrikaans blesmol refers to the conspicuous white frontal patch on the head.
1992Bennett & Jarvis inAfr. WildlifeVol.46No.4, 167The Cape mole-rat is herbivorous, feeding on bulbs, corms and rootstocks.
1972Common molerat: [see above].
1990Skinner & SmithersMammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 190Common molerats are capable of using a wide diversity of substrates...Over part of their range, in the southwestern Cape province, they occur sympatrically with Georychus capensis, Bathyergus suillus or B. janetta.