What is that thing? It's a popular pet in Cuba Congui, a domesticated hutia, rides on the front door of an American classic car driven by its owner Rafael Lopez, in Bainoa, Cuba (AP photos)
What is that thing? It's a popular pet in Cuba
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Some people keep guinea pigs or hamsters as pets.

In Cuba, a larger, more exotic rodent runs wild. The rodent is called the hutia. Ana Pedraza and her husband love them.

The hutia looks like a giant rat, only cuter, some would say. The animal has a rope-like tail. And long front teeth. It measures nearly a foot long. Hutias live in Cuba and other Caribbean islands. They are sometimes hunted for food.

Pedraza and her husband Rafael Lopez say they only want to protect and take care of the animal.The largest can weigh more than a small dog.

The couple began collecting hutias about five years ago. They found one on a roadside. They named her Congui. Then they got a mate for Conqui. Now they have more than a half-dozen hutias. The rodents live in the couple's home. It's about 25 miles from the capital, Havana.

Congui and her brood like to drink sweetened coffee and munch on crackers and vegetables.

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COMMENTS (80)
  • carlyl-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 01:59 p.m.

    I love the pet but I don't think I could own half-dozen of hutias .I don't think it is nice that the call them rodents because that's just like calling one of us rodents and they have feeling too so that's just rude.

  • kristenk-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 02:04 p.m.

    I think these animals are adorable they should never be hunted for food ever. they should be protected so their are more of these animals I wish I could own one of these animals. I think it is funny that they drink sweetened coffee and munch on crackers and vegetables. I think it is good that Pedraza and her husband took in the hutias and got a mate and they had baby hutias and they have more than hlf-dozen hutias.

  • alexiss-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 02:04 p.m.

    I would like to own a hutia . It mite be fun! But it also mite be hard to tame the animal,because it is an exotic animal.

  • ellag-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    Those things look even cuter than a hamster to me

  • jovanim-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    i wish i had a huntia they are adorabble small and so cute

  • johnm-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    I never saw this animal before I thought it was a beaver at first.I would like to have one of these hutia.

  • zadaires-Sma
    1/05/2015 - 03:03 p.m.

    AS AOTHER ANIMAL LOVE I GET WERE YOU ARE COMING FROM. AS A PERSON THAT WAS AROUND ANIMAL AND HOW SOME PEOPLE HATE ANIMAL FOR ARE NEED AND LOVE ANIMAL. SOME PEOPLE CAUSE ANIMAL TO HAVE PAIN OR FAIR BUT I DON'T LIKE THIS AT ALL SO I HATE PEOPLE THAT THINK IT FAIR TO HURT OR KILL RARE ANIMALS. I THAT IS MY COMMENT

  • joshual-Sma
    1/07/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    The hutias are so cute,and they eat vegetables. Thanks you, that is the pet that I need

  • joshual-Sma
    1/07/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    The hutias are so cute,and they eat vegetables. Thanks you, that is the pet that I need

  • joshual-Sma
    1/07/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    The hutias are so cute,and they eat vegetables. Thanks you, that is the pet that I need

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