©Eladio M. Fernandez
Solenodons are basically a giant shrew, they are also a venomous, nocturnal, burrowing, insectivorous mammal belonging to the family Solenodontidae. Only one genus, Solenodon, is known.
- As well as having a poisonous bite a solenodon has glands in the armpits and in the groin, which give off a goat-like smell.
- They attack with little provocation and grooves in their teeth deliver venomous saliva with the bite.
- Their snout is flexible, it actually has a ball-and-socket joint at the base to increase its mobility. This allows the animal to investigate narrow crevices where potential prey may be hiding.
- Living in tunnels, the solenodon is a slow mover in open space, a clumsy runner, it cannot walk straight and often stumbles and falls when it runs.
- When pursued,the solenodon, does not flee - instead it stays motionless and hides its head, so unfortunately, it can be picked up easily.
- The number of animals that have found their way to zoos is very small: at the last count in June 1969 10 Haitian solenodons were to be found in 5 zoos throughout the world.