Head and body length, 28-39 cm, 17.5-25.5 cm
590 g - 1 kg
Unknown; populations declining
Wooded, and brushy areas on the island of Hispaniola; sometimes found near plantations and other agriculturally develop land.
A mammal in a million? One of only two surviving West Indian insectivores, the Hispaniolan solenodon is a definite oddity: not only is it separated from its nearest genus by some 76 million years, but its also one of the very few poisonous mammals. However, the sociable burrow-dweller hunts only millipedes, ground beetles, snails and the like. Its venomous bite is not enough to deter introduced cats, dogs and mongooses, which make an easy meal of it. Defenseless against both predators and deforestation-and hampered by its slow rate of reproduction-this decidedly different creature is getting rarer all the time.