Cuban Solenodon |
The Duck-billed Platypus |
Eurasian water shrew |
Northern Short-tailed Shrew |
Southern Short-tailed Shrew
Venomous mammals are animals belonging to the class Mammalia that produce venom. Venomous mammals use their venom to kill or disable prey, or to defend themselves from predators. In modern nature, venomous mammals are quite rare. Venom is much more common among other vertebrates.
There are many more species of venomous/poisonous reptiles such as snakes, amphibians such as toads and frogs and fish such as stonefish. There are no species of venomous birds, however some birds are poisonous to eat or touch, such as the pitohui, the ifrita and the rufous shrike-thrush.
It is suggested that venomous mammals were once more common. Canine teeth dating back 60 million years from two extinct species, the shrew-like Bisonalveus browni, once believed to be related to the modern Pangolin (scaly anteaters in the order Pholidota) and another unidentified mammal, show grooves that some palaeontologists have debated are indicative of a venomous bite.
However, other scientists have questioned this conclusion given that many living non-venomous mammals (many primates, coatis and fruit bats) also have deep grooves down the length of their canines, suggesting that this feature does not always reflect a possible venom delivery.
It has also been suggested that modern animals do not need venom because they are smart and effective enough to kill quickly with tooth or claw, whereas venom, no matter how sophisticated, takes time to disable prey. Indeed, the venomous insectivore, the solenodon, is now being driven from its native habitats by introduced dogs, cats and mongooses.
Listed below are mammals that are venomous or that use poisonous or noxious chemicals in some form.