Science and conservation for the world’s 2800 small mammal species

Key Species

Our Key Species are those small mammals that are ranked as the world’s most Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE). These species represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history and are among the ‘weirdest and most wonderful species on the planet’.  Ranging from the bizarre Hispaniolan and Cuban solenodons, two of the few venomous mammals in the world – to the Kha-nyou or Laotian Rock-rat, a species so ancient it is considered a ‘living fossil’ – to the Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat, which has only been seen a handful of times in history.

But these species are under great threat and many are on the brink of extinction.  And we know very little about them in order to decide how best they can be conserved and to convince donors that they can be saved. Working in collaboration with ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme, we are recruiting SMSG Key Species Coordinators which are being supported to further investigate their population status, to identify their main threats and to champion their conservation

As a start, we are focusing on the small mammals which appear on the Top 100 EDGE small mammal list, including 26 species of rodent, shrew, gymnure and solenodon.  Click on the photos below to find out about our Key Species and the people working to study and save them.

Ilin Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat
Crateromys paulus
Namdapha flying squirrel
Biswamoyopterus biswasi
Russian Desman
Desmana moschata
Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat
Crateromys australis
Kondana soft-furred rat
Millardia kondana
Elvira rat
Cremnomys elvira
Dwarf hutia
Mesocapromys nanus
Little earth / San Felipe Hutia
Mesocapromys sanfelipensis
Tumbalá climbing rat
Tylomys tumbalensis
San Cristobal shrew
Sorex stizodon
Sclater’s shrew
Sorex sclateri
Chiapan climbing-rat
Tylomys bullaris
Malagasy giant jumping rat
Hypogeomys antimena
Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse
Dendromus kahuziensis
Ethiopian water mouse
Nilopegamys plumbeus
Long-tailed chinchilla
Chinchilla lanigera
Short-tailed chinchilla
Chinchilla chinchilla
Dinagat gymnure
Podogymnura aureospinula
Hainan gymnure
Neohylomys hainanensis
Muennink’s spiny rat
Tokudaia muenninki
Bolivian chinchilla rat
Abrocoma boliviensis
Pacific degu
Octodon pacificus
Hispaniolan solenodon
Solenodon paradoxus
Kha-nyou
Laonastes aenigmamus
Cuban solenodon
Solenodon cubanus