Cuba 1-PESO (KM64) Cuban Solenodon
Part of the Fauna Cubana series issued by Cuba in 1981. This series of coins was issued for collectors, but surely some of them must have circulated. This coin has very special meaning to the Zoo Keeper, as it was given to me by noted numismatist Ingrid K. Smith. Ingrid was working for the Cuban mint at the time of this coin's creation, and personally removed this example from the minting press. She indicated to me that it was the first coin to drop from the press.
The Cuban Solenodon is one of only two (barely) surviving species of Solenodontidae. This 70-80 cm long insectivore is found only in Cuba and was thought to be extinct until a live specimen was found in 2003. If you are lucky enough to spot one, don't bother trying to pick it up as they are prone to freak out and start biting and their saliva is venomous -- one of only a few mammals with a poison bite. Another strange characteristic is the location of the two teats on the female: practically right on their butts.
- Diameter: 30 mm
- Composition: Copper-Nickel
- CAT#: KM64