Cool, another thing to shoot…wonder if they are tasty?

Ever heard of an olinguito?

Didn’t think so, neither have I.

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Imagine a mini-raccoon with a teddy bear face that is so cute it is hard to resist, let alone overlook. But somehow science did – until now.

Researchers announced a rare discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito. The reddish-brown animal is about 0.61 metres long with a long tail and weighs about 1 kilogram.

It belongs to a grouping of large creatures that include dogs, cats and bears. 

The critter leaps through the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night, according to a Smithsonian researcher who has spent the past decade tracking them.

But the adorable olinguito should not have been too hard to find. One of them once lived in the Smithsonian-run National Zoo in Washington for a year in a case of mistaken identity.

“It’s been kind of hiding in plain sight for a long time” despite its extraordinary beauty, said Kristofer Helgen, the Smithsonian’s curator of mammals.

What gets me is that this critter lived and died in 1976…and it is somehow news now?

The little zoo critter, named Ringerl, was mistaken for a sister species, the olingo. Before she died in 1976, Ringerl was shipped from US zoo to zoo to try to get it to breed with other olingos.

She would not.

“It turns out she wasn’t fussy,” Helgen said. “She wasn’t the right species.”

I’ll bet they are just like possum, nasty little critters that deserve nothing but bullets.

 


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  • Richard McGrath

    Looks like a pest to me… shoot it.

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