This week I’ve decided to give you a mystery object that has its skin and fur, so in theory it should be really easy to work out what it is. In theory.
Any idea what species this adorable little critter belongs to?
As usual you can put your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments section below. If you find this too easy then maybe you can try to find a cleverly cryptic way to let me know.
First thought was South American, but it has the stance of someone who has so many pockets/pouches it doesn’t need a handbag…
A North American rodent named after a larger, and more famous, Australian jumping marsupial?
Looks a bit rodenty to me, almost like a cross between, you know, a kangaroo and a rat; sort of a kangaroo-rat type of thingy…?
my what long nails you have my dear… but such dainty fingers.
So do the long skinny legs a desert lifestyle?
“suggest a desert lifestyle” dammit. I really must review before posting.
Long skinny legs definitely don’t indicate a dessert lifestyle, that’s for sure 😉
Kangaroo rats are much smaller, have pointy noses with long whiskers, and smaller ears.
It looks like a cross between a quokka and a mara and that’s as far as I’m getting…
The thing is that Paolo, canny Irishman that he claims to be, has deliberately not given us a metric scale, nor any view of its tail.
If this were not supposed to be a challenge I’d say that was cheating.
As it stands (no pun intended), the size of the eyes in relation to the head and body suggest it is not too tiny, so your estimate of size is likely to be correct.
I am guessing a height, as posed, of 30 cm or more.
As usual, I am probably wrong… 😦
Hmmm… now wondering if the nostril/lip configuration suggests a lagomorph.
Dang, this taxonomy business is hard.
I’m confident it’s not a lagomorph, and am still torn between rodent and marsupial.
As for the tail/foot, it does look like a jointed foot, but also seems to be too skinny to be a supportive limb for an animal of that size…
Good points, well made.
Palfreyman– No view of the tail? Then you are interpreting the … thing … visible at the bottom of the image, below the torso, light on the black tabletop of stand, as a hind foot? I was thinking of it as a tail, with a tuft at the end…
Oooh. Very intriguing thought.
My reasoning was that it seems to have a joint before the “tuft” and that it seems to mirror the clear beginnings of its left hind limb at the bottom right of the pic.
But you have now thrown me completely and I may have to totally reinterpret my vision of this mammal. At least we can be reasonably certain it is a mammal that isn’t a monotreme, eh?
Definitely a mammal, and not any known species of monotreme! (Paolo wouldn’t do anything sneaky like showing us a fake-fur reconstruction of, say, a multituberculate… would he?)
Speaking of fur… This is surprisingly light in colour. Perhaps it has faded if it is an old mount that was left in the sun too long.
Whatever it is, I think it’s reasonable to assume it is a hopper or a jumper: the forepaws and forelimbs look small for habitual quadrupedality.
Indeed, both on the color and Paolo not trying to kid us with a multituberculate (he invariably gives us extant species, no?)
Rebecca still seems to be holding out for a hero, sorry marsupial, but I am more and more inclined to the glires: and if it isn’t a rabbit, hare or pika then it is easily narrowed down to the 1000+ species of rodent.
Colour, as you say, is all wrong, but summat like a cavy?
The muzzle is reminiscent of a cavy or sciurid, but I’m not convinced it’s either… I’m gonna take a stab at the family and say Potoroidae?
Nope, that is indeed a foot!
It thought one thing, then switched the words around, and got another. If I had one, I may name it Wallly, Oy! And give it a pot or idea to play. 🙂
Rebecca and Jennifer–
I’m not convinced: the images I just found on the WWWeb don’t show enough detail of the … micro-Macropods at issue. One thing is that they don’t have tufts on their tails (well, the species I found on the WWWeb don’t), so if that’s what the critter is, the remarkably slender … thing … at the bottom of the picture has to be a foot.
On the plus side, it DOES somewhat resemble a P… foot. They have one toe longer than the others, and the end of the “tuft” might be that toe (and I can imagine a nail in it).
So, not convinced but beginning to lean…
Am also wondering if this represents a sort of Winter coat. The fur may have needed to be brushed, of course, but just in case the pose was conscientiously recreated, this might be an animal from temperate, or even nigh on Arctic, regions.
That would rule out marsupials and leave us with the glires. Except of course…
There is a well known Arctic lagomorph that matches the colour and muzzle shape, but has much larger ears.
I’m wondering if the taxidermist didn’t goof up the nose a bit?
Hmm, ok, I said no to kangaroo rat but now I’m willing to revisit that family… How big do jerboas get?
Very small compared to this, I think. And aren’t their snouts quite different?
Anyway, blessed relief today as Paolo performs the big reveal!
last minute comments… i’m still fixated on the foreclaws. those look fossorial, yet a two legged stance indicates jumping… very different lifestyles. googling those two terms + rodent: malagasy giant jumping rat. not perfect, but could be close.