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Solenodons: Solenodontidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Like most other insectivores, solenodons rest during the day and become active at night. They usually spend their days in small groups within burrows or shallow hollows in the ground, but may also rest in small hiding places. They spread out at night to look for food alone, and will attack fellow solenodons that get too close, often inflicting nasty bites. If a predator approaches, the solenodon has the option of charging and biting, or running off. Unless it is startled or has nowhere to flee, it will usually choose running over fighting.

Solenodons make a number of noises, including shrieks, grunts, and clicks. Some scientists believe the clicks may help them find prey. Just as bats make high-pitched noises and listen as the noises bounce off objects and back to them, solenodons may listen for the bounced clicks to detect objects, like prey, in their surroundings. This ability to "see" objects with reflected sound waves is called echolocation (eck-oh-loh-KAY-shun).

Males and females can breed at any time of year, and females usually have two litters (young born at the same time) every year. A mother may have one, two, or three babies at a time. Mothers nurse their young with two nipples located toward the rear of the animal, which are farther back than on a typical mammal. The babies continue nursing for about seventy-five days, but often stay with their mother until well after the next litter is born.


Like other mammals, solenodon mothers nurse their babies with milk delivered through their nipples. A mother may have up to three babies in each litter, but she has only two nipples. All three of her young cannot feed at once. As a result, one of the three babies typically gets less of the nourishing milk than the other two, becomes weaker and weaker, and eventually dies.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsSolenodons: Solenodontidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Hispaniolan Solenodon (solenodon Paradoxus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SOLENODONS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS