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Rare Venomous Mammal Filmed 233

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-annoy-the-solenodon dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that footage of one of the world's most strange and elusive mammals has been captured by scientists. Large, and with a long, thin snout, the Hispaniolan solenodon resembles an overgrown shrew. It can inject passing prey with a venom-loaded bite. Dr Sam Turvey, a ZSL (Zoological Society of London) researcher involved with the program, told BBC News: 'It is an amazing creature — it is one of the most evolutionary distinct mammals in the world.' Along with the other species of solenodon, which is found in Cuba (Solenodon cubanus), it is the only living mammal that can actually inject venom into their prey through specialized teeth. Little is known about the creature, which is found in the Caribbean, but it is under threat from deforestation, hunting and introduced species. Researchers say conservation efforts are now needed. The mammal was filmed in the summer of 2008 during a month-long expedition to the Dominican Republic — one of only two countries where this nocturnal, insect-eating animal (Solenodon paradoxus) can be found (the other is Haiti). The researchers from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Ornithological Society of Hispaniola were able to take measurements and DNA from the creature before it was released."
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Rare Venomous Mammal Filmed

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by ciaohound (118419) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:52PM (#26389057)

    The BBC are reporting that footage of one of the world's most strange and elusive mammals has been captured by scientists.

    What will slashdot be without Cowboy Neal?

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by Shagg (99693) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:56PM (#26389107)

      The BBC are reporting that footage of one of the world's most strange and elusive mammals has been captured by scientists.

      A Slashdot member with a girlfriend?

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Talderas (1212466) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:21PM (#26389469)

      The mammal was filmed in the summer of 2008 during a month-long expedition to the Dominican Republic â" one of only two countries where this nocturnal, insect-eating animal (Solenodon paradoxus) can be found (the other is Haiti).

      I'd be a little perplexed if Haiti didn't have the animal in it, IT SHARES THE SAME GOD DAMN ISLAND with the Dominican Republic.

  • by PK Tech Guy (1310715) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:52PM (#26389061)
    Obviously they never met my ex-girlfriend...
    • And let the woman jokes begin. Anyone can please pass me the coconut, this shall be a fun ride.
    • by zappepcs (820751)

      I kind of feel sorry for these scientists. I'm guessing these scientists are not familiar with the dating scene?

      'It is an amazing creature â" it is one of the most evolutionary distinct mammals in the world.' .... it is the only living mammal that can actually inject venom into their prey...

      Yep, in the movie 'Species' when they are explaining to Madson why the alien is a female... he replies "you don't get out much, do you?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Diamon (13013)

      You dated a platypus?

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      Obviously they never met my ex-girlfriend...

      If your girlfriend was the one injecting stuff then you should have started a website to cash in ;)

  • by skydude_20 (307538) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:53PM (#26389063) Journal
    i told you it was real
  • Rare Venomous Mammal

    Is it a Klingon who keeps the venom in a sac on the side of his jaw, and goes after amphibian women?

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:01PM (#26389177) Homepage

    Large, and with a long, thin snout, the Hispaniolan solenodon resembles an overgrown shrew.

    Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to Ann Coulter?

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      Wrong animal. You're thinking of the 'Thin, and with a long, large snout' creature, which spews venom somewhat randomly. I say somewhat, because she probably hasn't read this thread yet. Ann Coulter a /.'r? *shudder*

      How appropriate that my captcha for this post is 'danger'...

      • she probably hasn't read this thread yet. Ann Coulter a /.'r? *shudder*

        As strange as that would be, it's even stranger [wikipedia.org] that she used to attend Grateful Dead [anncoulter.com] concerts, and still considers herself a fan.

    • by ccady (569355)

      Large, and with a long, thin snout, the Hispaniolan solenodon resembles an overgrown shrew.

      Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to Ann Coulter?

      Ad feminem you pedantic, insensitive clod!

    • by Thaelon (250687)

      Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to Ann Coulter?

      Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to shrews?

    • Large, and with a long, thin snout, the Hispaniolan solenodon resembles an overgrown shrew.

      Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to Ann Coulter?

      Not in the least. She may be venomous but she's not a mammal.

    • by internic (453511)

      "Large, and with a long, thin snout, the Hispaniolan solenodon resembles an overgrown shrew."

      Hey, do we really need to resort to these petty ad hominem attacks when referring to Ann Coulter?

      This can't properly refer to Coulter; One of the defining characteristics of mammals is that they are warm blooded.

  • Vermicious Knids are real!
  • 3... 2... 1...
  • The sequel (Score:3, Funny)

    by Killer Orca (1373645) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:09PM (#26389289)
    Solenodons On a Plane! Hmmm, doesn't have quite the same ring.
    • Solenodons On a Plane! Hmmm, doesn't have quite the same ring.

      Meh, just get Samuel L. Jackson to yell it and the rest of the film will work itself out.

  • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:15PM (#26389397) Homepage

    ...it is under threat from deforestation, hunting and introduced species.

    They have no clue how many of these things there are, (other than there is more than one but fewer than enough to pave the whole island), but if course they're automatically "endangered" or "under threat" or whatever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They have no clue how many of these things there are, (other than there is more than one but fewer than enough to pave the whole island), but if course they're automatically "endangered" or "under threat" or whatever

      Hispaniola is not a very large island in terms of area. Considering this critter doesn't seem to be running through the cities, and the cities are expanding, it doesn't seem to be a very large leap to declare it endangered.

    • by c6gunner (950153)

      Yeah, that was the first thing that caught my eye. In one sentence they're basically saying "we know next to nothing about these things, and have only managed to capture one" and then a couple sentences later they're telling us that not only are these creatures endangered, but we know exactly why.

      Right.

      In other news, I've figured out why alien abductions are on the decrease: clearly our excessive CO2 output is impacting the ability of space-aliens to exist in our atmosphere. I'd provide evidence, but I d

  • Odds are this thing evolved from the legendary The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka [wikipedia.org] ...
  • Nerdy Animals (Score:4, Interesting)

    by writerjosh (862522) * on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:22PM (#26389501) Homepage

    "Solenodon paradoxus collects food by digging extensive tunnel systems under the ground, then foraging for insects and other invertebrates from the surrounding soil.

    Foods eaten include: millipedes (Iulides), ground beetles (Carabidae), various orthopteran insects (Gryllidae, Tettigoniidae, Blattidae), earthworms (Lumbricidae) and various types of snails."

    Strange that an animal loaded with venom doesn't go after small mammals or something.

    "Solenodon paradoxus is described as a 'slow mover' and a 'clumsy runner with no agility in avoiding enemies and a poor means of defense'"

    So what you're saying is, Solenodon paradoxus is the nerd of the jungle.

    more interesting facts: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Solenodon_paradoxus.html [umich.edu]

    • More venomous mammal info for nerds-

      Another mammal with venom is the Platypus, it has spines in it's armpits that when injected causes unbelievably severe pain.

    • Strange that an animal loaded with venom doesn't go after small mammals or something.

      One might even say it was paradoxical...

  • Looks like a possum...probably tastes like one, too.
  • by Linux_ho (205887) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:24PM (#26389519) Homepage
    Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
  • And all this time I thought the platypus was the only venomous mammal. You learn something new every day.

  • by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#26389879) Homepage Journal
    Just from reading this article, I feel like it's the lead in to a Monty Python sketch.

    "And in this cage," (displays empty cage), "we can see the rare Caribbean poisonous shrew, which jumps out and injects its' prey with venom. Bites are instantly fatal, so we have to use extreme..."
    [A brown blur crosses the screen and attacks the speaker's face] "AAAAAAARRRRRRRGH!"
  • Killer Shrew!
    Killer Shrew!
    Don't know the difference 'tween me and you!
    He comes out at night,
    To give you a fright!
    Don't look now
    But he's gonna take a bite!
    (Down-da-da-down-da-da-down-da-da-down)
    Killer Shrew!
    Killer Shrew!
    K-I-Double L-E-R Shrew
    He's scary and tough!
    If that ain't enough,
    He's augmented with
    Bat mites and stuff!

    --MST3K ode to the Killer Shrews [wikipedia.org]

  • If it eats insects, why would it need venomous teeth? It looks like the kind of thing that runs away from bigger animals, so I can't imagine it used in defense. And insects could be swallowed whole.

    Although, I don't know what insects are look in the Dominican Republic... I've seen desert cockroaches bigger than a human hand.

  • Fangs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Friday January 09, 2009 @03:07PM (#26390187) Homepage

    We discovered a River Otter living in our pond. I was suddenly glad the little guy wasn't poisonous. He was enjoying one of my bluegill for breakfast this am. If he starts eating my bass he could become an endangered species. Cute little rascal, though.

    Wonder why an insect eating mammal needs venom? Those must be some bad ass bugs he's hunting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by argent (18001)

      Wonder why an insect eating mammal needs venom? Those must be some bad ass bugs he's hunting.

      In Haiti? Voodoo zombie centipedes, at least.

  • by Badmovies (182275) on Friday January 09, 2009 @03:16PM (#26390327) Homepage

    I know that, somewhere, a crazy genetic engineer is holding one of those little venomous beasts in his hand and thinking to himself, "These are cool. I wish they were bigger!"

    His office is right next door to the insane scientist who is trying to breed 40 lb tarantulas, and down the hall from the aquarium-hugging genius who wants to cross flying fish with piranhas.

  • they are not the same letter.

  • I love how... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Slash.Poop (1088395)

    Rare footage of one of the world's most strange and elusive mammals has been captured by scientists.

    Implies that they somehow, by accident, captured it on video somewhere deep in a jungle. You watch the video and NOPE. It is confinement with handlers. How is that rare footage?

  • IANAE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaFallus (805248)
    I was trying to figure out why this thing would need to use poison when TFA only mentions a diet of insects. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] the "diet of solenodons consists largely of insects, earthworms, and other invertebrates, but they also eat vertebrate carrion, and perhaps even some living vertebrate prey such as small reptiles or amphibians"
    • by clintp (5169)

      I was trying to figure out why this thing would need to use poison when TFA only mentions a diet of insects

      When dealing with insects, most humans prefer to use chemical warfare as well. (DDT, Diazinon, DEET, etc...) Why not other mammals?

  • "The mammal was filmed in the summer of 2008 during a month-long expedition to the Dominican Republic -- one of only two countries where this nocturnal, insect-eating animal (Solenodon paradoxus) can be found (the other is Haiti)."

    Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two states on one island in the Caribbean.

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