The Hispaniolan Solenodon: one of the world’s weirdest mammals
Commonly known as Hispaniolan Solenodon and Haitian Solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus (Soricomorpha - Solenodontidae) is one of these ‘last survivors’, and perhaps one of the evolutionary distinct mammals in existence today.
It has several unusual features that make it truly unique, one of them is a venomous bite, yes, It is one of only a few species of mammal capable of producing toxic saliva, and the venom is delivered in a manner more common amongst reptiles, through special grooves in its second incisors (Solenodon literally means ‘slotted-tooth’). Add a goat-like musk scent, and a long snout with a ball-and-socket joint allowing an extreme range of movement, and the Hispaniolan Solenodon shapes up to be something of an oddity.
Locals in The Hispaniola claim that solenodons never run in a straight line, and that it grunts like a pig and calls like a bird. Perhaps the weirdest feature of the solenodon is how the females suckle their young - two elongated teats, located almost directly in the groin area of the animal, something found in no other known mammal, existing or fossilized.
This amazing species is endemic to Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), and is regarded as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Photo credits: [Top: ©Jorge Brocca | Locality: Dominican Republic, 2009] - [Bottom: ©Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust-Darwin Initiative (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Dominican Republic, 2009]
Here you can watch a video of this amazing creature.