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Science

Rare Venomous Mammal Filmed 233

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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