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For the average human, small mammals usually elicit exclamations of adoration (except for the aforementioned rats and other gross rodents), and we don’t usually think to be afraid of them. There are a few small mammals that possess venom, though, just like snakes and spiders do. One of them is the bizarre and allegedly-from-this-planet platypus — the males actually carry venom in spurs on their hind legs, which they use to paralyze opponents during mating season. Another is the Cuban solenodon, which looks rather like a larger, hairier, and more evil version of an elephant shrew. Until recently, scientists thought the solenodon was extinct, because there have only been a few scattered reports of sightings since the 1980s. Then in 2003 someone caught one.

That seems pretty ballsy when you consider that the solenodon, like the platypus, is actually venomous. Unlike the platypus, which only has venom during mating season, the solenodon possesses permanently venomous saliva, which it uses to subdue its prey. (Its prey, by the way, are worms, so maybe the worms in Cuba are particularly speedy or something.)

According to Scientific American, capturing this specimen would probably not put the researchers in any actual danger, since the solenodon is kind of a wimp and tends to stop running and hide its head when confronted by a predator, which hey, seems like a pretty valid reason for its near-extinction. But you didn’t hear that from us.

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