Endangered Species of the Week: Hispaniolan solenodon
Species: Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The Hispaniolan solenodon is capable of secreting toxic saliva!
The ancient and distinctive Hispaniolan solenodon is one of only two solenedons in existence. It resembles a large, stocky shrew, and has a distinctive, elongated snout with a unique ball-and-socket joint, which allows for an amazing level of flexibility. During the night, this species forages for prey using the flexible snout to explore cracks and crevices. It lunges at its chosen prey, pinning it down with its strong forelimbs, and then scoops up the prey with its lower jaw. A bite from the solenodon injects the victim with toxic saliva from its lower incisors and renders the prey immobile.
Before Europeans arrived on the island, the Hispaniolan solenodon was one of the dominant carnivores on Hispaniola. Today, however, the solenodon is thought to be threatened by predation from introduced cats, dogs and mongooses brought to the island with the arrival of the Europeans. Conservationists are currently working to secure the remaining habitat of this species. However, the enormous pressure from increasing human populations on Hispaniola may mean that the survival of the Hispaniolan solenodon ultimately depends on zoos.
Learn more about the Endangered Hispaniolan solenodon on the EDGE website.
Find out more about Endangered species on ARKive.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author