May 3, 2008

The Makings of an Ugly Critter

It is 16-22 inches (40-55 centimeters) long from nose to tail and resembles a large brown rat with an extremely elongated snout and a long, naked, scaly tail.
That's the makings of one ugly critter.

The Cuban Solenodon (Solenodon cubanus - almost a redundant name), is unusual among mammals in that it has venomous saliva. It is unusual among mammals in that it was thought to be extinct until it was 'rediscovered. And lastly, it is unusual among mammals in that it's closest kin outside of other Solenodons is on the island of Madagascar.

It's most likely out of shame that this creature operates only at night and underground. Still, we would be seeing a lot more of it if not for the predation of non-native species.

Thanks for the photo, Ida.

Photo source: via Animal Pictures Archive


Theodosia said...

Is it actually Cuban? FWIW, I understand there's actually rather a significant inadvertant wildlife reserve in the no-man's-land surrounding Guantanamo. Which is probably about the only really good thing you can say about the place.

Callandrea said...

Kinda looks like a small ROUS (Rodent of Unusual Size) a la Princess Bride.

Katie said...

Tee hee! "The Trash Heap has spoken!"

Or, I suppose, since it lives in Cuba: "¡La MontaƱa Basura ha hablado!"

Anonymous said...

It looks like it belongs in The Dark Crystal. Perhaps that's because it looks like a puppet and like it's been designed by Brian Froud!

Anonymous said...

"Solenodons have glands in their inguinal and groin areas that secrete a musky, goat-like odor." - Animal Diversity Web
As if the general appearance wasn't off-putting enough.

Anonymous said...

Now that is ugly overloaded! Whew.