There’s always something to learn that will surprise you.
Hi, Mr. Nature here–and I was surprised yesterday when I learned that the solenodon–which looks like a kind of rat or possum, but isn’t–is poisonous. A bite from this baby could actually kill you. At the very least, it would make you very sick. This little furry mammal has a neurotoxic venom, as do many poisonous snakes but very few mammals indeed.
What they use the venom for, I dunno. They eat earthworms, insects, carrion, and the occasional frog. Larger mammals eat solenodons. Along with the poisonous bite, I read, goes a rather short fuse–although the one in this video seems amiable enough.
Solenodons are very rare, they live on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, and have more than once been thought to be extinct, only to turn up right after their extinction has been published somewhere. They don’t like to be seen and are quite good at avoiding it. Mammals imported from Europe, Asia, and Africa have pretty much wiped out most of the mammal fauna native to the Caribbean.
The Haitian solenodon has a ball-and-socket joint in its snout to make its nose more flexible. That’s helpful in sniffing out yummy worms and grubs. Solenodons don’t see well, but their acute sense of smell compensates for that. And they can run on tiptoe very fast.
You might say these animals are living fossils, left over from their salad days during the Age of Dinosaurs.
There’s no limit to God’s artistry, and we have yet to see it all.