HISPANIOLAN SOLENODON – Solenodon paradoxus


Hispaniolan solenodon facts: This large insectivore’s long tail, long snout, and rather lengthy legs are nearly naked. From the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, an adult can reach 22 inches (56 centimeters) long. Adults range from 11 to 12 inches (28 to 32.5 centimeters) in body length with tails of 7 to 10 inches (17.5 to 25.5 centimeters), and weigh 1.3 to 2.4 pounds (0.6 to 1.1 kilograms). Color varies somewhat, but individuals usually have a brownish coat on the back and a lightercolored underside. The forelimbs are stronger and have larger paws than the hind limbs. All four paws have five toes.

Geographic range: Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Hispaniolan solenodon habitat: Hispaniolan solenodons typically live in forests, but sometimes make their homes in plantations or gardens.

Hispaniolan solenodon diet: The Hispaniolan solenodon’s diet includes insects and other invertebrates, small reptiles, some fruit and vegetables, and possibly an occasional young chicken.

Behavior and reproduction: During the day, Hispaniolan solenodons rest in various hiding places, including hollow trees or logs, tight places in caves or slender cracks in rocks, or in the burrows they make. Several solenodons may rest together in a burrow. When they become active at night, they scout around on the surface looking for food. Adults are loners during this period, even fighting with one another.

Males and females produce an oily, greenish fluid, which tells members of the opposite sex that they are ready to mate. Females can have one or two litters each year, and may have them in any season. Each litter typically has one to three babies, which the mother feeds from two nipples located near the mother’s rump. The young can latch onto the nipples and remain attached even if the mother decides to go for a walk. The young simply drag along the ground underneath her. The babies stop nursing after about two-and-a-half months, but may stay with the family for several months, even after the mother has another litter.

Hispaniolan solenodons and people: Other than an occasional runin in a farm field or garden, solenodons and humans rarely see one another.

Conservation status: Both the IUCN and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list this species as Endangered. Threats come in the form of dogs and cats that prey on the animal, and the human destruction of the forests where it lives.