Gymnure

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Gymnures & moonrats
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Subclass:Eutheria
Order:Insectivora
Family:Erinaceidae
Subfamily:Hylomyinae
Genera

Echinosorex
Hylomys
Podogymnura

The Gymnure, also called Hairy Hedgehog or Moon Rat, is a mammal belonging to the order Insectivora. Nocturnal or crepescular in habit, gymnures inhabit moist jungle terrain in various locales of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Sumatra, China and the Malay Peninsula.

Although its closest relative is the hedgehog, full grown specimens more closely resemble large rats, or the North American opossum, (Didelphis virginianis), with which it shares similar habits and ecological niches (an example of parallel evolution).

The gymnure's body planform resembles that of the earliest mammals, with a large toothy head about 1/3rd the length of the total body, a naked furless tail for balance and thermoregulatory purposes, plantigrade stance, outstanding sense of smell, and tactile response in the snout region. (Related starnose moles have such innervated noses that they can readily detect and discern microscopic texture features).

Basically gymnures bumble about on the forest floor, using smell to first localize food, Various arthropods, mice, small reptiles and amphibians are eaten, with occasional fruit and fungi. Territory is kept, and individuals are solitary except when breeding. Often noted in regard to the gymnure is its very strong scent, typically described as a rancid garlic or onion smell, a function of its territory marking scent glands. Several creatures similar in form and niche, such as the opossum and solenodon smell similar to the gymnure.

There are eight species in three genera:

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