Dwarf Hutia – It was Very Good

Dwarf Hutia
Dwarf Hutia, Samuel Turvey

Dwarf Hutia (Mesocapromys nanus)

The Dwarf Hutia is one of a very small number of modern animals that was first described through fossil remains. Such fossil remains have been found across Cuba and the nearby Isle of Pines (or the Isle of Youth, if you prefer).

Hutias are medium to large-bodied stocky rodents with broad, round heads, small eyes and short, rounded ears. Hutias have short legs and five toes on each foot with strong, curved claws. Their brown fur is thick and coarse. The Dwarf Hutia was the smallest of hutia species.

Dwarf Hutia
Desmarest’s Hutia, a living relative.

The last specimen of Dwarf Hutias was collected 80 years ago in 1937. Tracks and droppings found in the remote Zapata Swamp has given some hope that the species has survived. But, the consensus of experts is that this small rodent is now extinct.

Primary causes for their extinction were habitat loss due to the encroachment of humans and human-related activities, such as farming and ranching, and the introduction of mongooses to the islands.

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Author: Jonathon

Doesn’t mix well with polite company; his two favorite topics being politics and religion. Would rather be out cycling, swimming, running, or camping. Misspent his youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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