That is a Hispanolian solenodon. There are only two species of solenodon, and we haven't seen them nearly often enough here. This is another animal that doesn't stop at being ugly to look at. That rubbery nose has got a ball-and-socket joint inside it for extra mobility. And if that's not weird enough for you, this is a mammal that is venomous. They've got toxic saliva that's delivered through grooves in their lower incisors when they bite their prey.
But as we know well on this blog, there's no animal that is so ugly that someone doesn't love it. And since this guy is highly endangered, its fans are hoping to spread that love so that people will help protect it. To this end, one conservation group has designed cuddly solenodons:
They clean up pretty nice, don't they? At least when you knit them out of wool with little t-shirts on them. Hey, if that's what it takes, I'm not going to argue.
If they've captured your ugly-loving heart and you want to know more, you can read the blog and website of the group The Last Survivors for more about how they're trying to save the solenodon, and follow naturalist (and photographer of the above) Jose Nunez who tweets as Solenondon_Joe.
- Wombat (No Relation)