Let me begin by saying that I love these things, for so many reasons. If someone asks what your favorite animal is and you answer “solenodon”, it sounds like a dinosaur. I forget exactly what school project it was that introduced me to the obstinately extant mammal. What I won’t forget is the first time I saw a picture of one, in an article about how difficult it is for scientists to accurately assess the solenodon population (short version, they are endangered, live on Cuba and the island of Hispaniola, and incredibly shy). Perhaps my favorite cosmic punchline is that the curmugeonly rodents were once the apex predators of their ecosystem. Looking like a large rat with the snout of a shrew, they certainly don’t look like an apex predator. But the name solenodon means slotted tooth - solenodons are one of the few venomous members of the shrew family. Their snouts feature a ball-and-socket joint (like a human shoulder) to give it extra flexibility and help the solenodon better suss out prey (they're mainly insectivores). If you want some more facts on this ridiculous little animal, a few good places to start are:
And, if you were wondering if there are any more bizarrely fanged creatures out there, look up "Chinese water deer" - they grow tusks instead of antlers.