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Over the holiday break and before the Polar Vortex hit the east coast, I made it down to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to take skin samples and photographs of solenodon museum specimens.

The collections at NMNH are wonderful because they have both Cuban and Hispaniolan individuals, and many of the specimens have great locality data. I had to share a few photos of the wonderfully weird Cuban solenodons I encountered while thereā€¦

I don’t know who could come up with the idea of mounting a solenodon head like a trophy….

A Hispaniolan solenodon can also be found on exhibit in the hall of mammals!

I can’t think of a better mammal to be featured next to the quote “As mammals adapted to a changing world, a wondrous diversity of shapes, sizes, and behaviors evolved.” Solenodons are wonderfully weird in their body size, amazingly flexible noses, venom production, and their mysterious ability to survive as witnesses to the collapse of their ecosystem through time. We need more solenodons on public display in US museums! And perhaps to also make reference to their more charismatic and memorable nickname —- “soli”!

- Alexis (@AlexisMychajliw)