Video: The Rare Almiqui

Posted on November 21, 2005

The Cuban Solenodon, also known as the Almiqui, is an insect eating rat-like creature that lives in Cuba. Not much is known about them today.

As the Wikipedia entry explains these unusual looking creatures were once thought to be extinct.

16-22 inches (40-55 centimeters) long from nose to tail, the Cuban Solenodon resembles a large brown rat with an extremely elongated snout and a long, naked, scaly tail. The Cuban Solenodon was mistakenly believed extinct since the last sighting in 1999 mainly because it is a nocturnal burrower, living underground. It is therefore very rarely seen. Since its discovery in 1861 by the German naturalist Wilhelm Peters, only 36 had ever been caught. The Cuban Solenodon that was found in 2003, named Alejandrito, brought the number to 37. He weighed 24 ounces and was healthy. He was released back into the wild after two days of scientific study were completed.
There is a reason the creature is so difficult to find. In addition to its small size it is also nocturnal and lives underground. These factors make the Almiqui hard to find even if you are looking for it.

A report from the Smithsonian notes that solenodons are one of the few venomous mammals. The can use the venomous bite when hunting larger animals, like worms, snails and small frogs.

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