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.

But in Cuba, where a larger, more exotic rodent runs wild, Ana Pedraza and her husband prefer the hutia.

With a rope-like tail and long front teeth, the hutia looks like a giant rat. Only it's cuter, some would say. The animals live in Cuba and other Caribbean islands. They are sometimes hunted for food.

But Pedraza and her husband Rafael Lopez say they only want to protect and take care of the animal, which measure nearly a foot long, with the largest ones weighing in bigger than a small dog.

The couple began collecting hutias about five years ago. They picked up one that was languishing on a roadside. They named her Congui. They found her a mate and now have more than a half-dozen hutias in their home about 25 miles east of the capital, Havana.

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

Critical thinking challenge: Why arent hutias popular in the U.S.?

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  • zarab-Orv
    12/01/2014 - 03:54 p.m.

    This article was interasting because cuba has a popular pet called a hytia. They say its like a larg rat. People also say that the hytia is sometimes hunted for food. To me they sound like a in dangerd species. I have never heard of a huytia befor , have you?

  • JonathanAA-4
    12/01/2014 - 07:28 p.m.

    This article is about how people in Cuba like to keep Hutias as pets. They are like giant guinea pigs. Ana Pedraza and her husband wanted to protect these animals from being hunted. The couple has been collecting Hutias for five years. I think that this article is interesting because Ana and her husband have more than half-dozen Hutias in their house which means they won't be hunted. They are saving an animal population.

  • JadaL-Cal
    12/01/2014 - 07:48 p.m.

    Rats are scary I do not like them at all. I love guinea pigs because they do not have rat tailes. I won't want a Hutia.

  • QuinnC-Cal
    12/01/2014 - 08:27 p.m.

    I think hutias aren't popular in the U.S. because they don't originate in the U.S. they haven't been heard of by many Americans either. I also think that have never been in America before but they might become popular in the future but for now they are unheard of by many people.

  • JuliaA-3
    12/01/2014 - 09:39 p.m.

    In Cuba, people like to keep Hutias as pets. They have rope-like tails, and long front teeth. It is known to look almost like a gigantic rat. The animals live only in Cuba and other Caribbean islands. They are also sometimes hunted for food. One couple, Pedraza and Rafael Lopez, adopted a Hutia and say they only wanted to protect it and take care of it. It was nearly a foot, and weighed a little more than a small dog. Today the couple has had more than a dozen Hutias that they rescued and released back into the wild. I find it very sweet that the couple was so determined to protect and help the Hutias. I also wonder why they are hunted. Do people eat them as food?

  • RuthTha
    12/02/2014 - 11:11 a.m.

    It's really adorable and tiny. I would keep it as a pet if I had a real one. I could take care of it everyday and give him food when it's hungry. If there are a dozen of them I can keep it in one place so they don't run away. I would call my friends over to help me watch them. If I had them I would let them run off when they're grown up and ready.

  • CollynR-Cal
    12/02/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    This article is about a woman named Ana Pedraza and her husband.They have a pet that people don't usually have.They live in Cube

  • Footballmaster7557
    12/03/2014 - 12:08 p.m.

    Wow that pet looks sort of like a beaver but different. I don't know if I would have that as a pet because it looks like a beaver. It has a rope like tail wow!!! My cat dosn't have a rope like tail but I whish

  • Ashlynn1048
    12/03/2014 - 01:32 p.m.

    That's so cool that people can have such exotic pets like that! They're kind of cute, the hutia really reminds me of a giant hamster or guinea pig! I really want one of these now! I think it would be a fun family pet!

  • faionaF-Cla
    12/03/2014 - 02:25 p.m.

    The exotic rodent that lives in Cuba and other Caribbean Islands, is like maybe too big for people to handle and people who live and the U.S. think its a big rat so they might try to kill the rodent. I personally think the animal will eat everything like... the couch, clothes, shoes, food, and etc. I hope it doesn't come with any disease or anything like bite people and give them an infection. plus they have a lot of babies and not everybody would like to have those as pets or anything in there house as pets.

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