A fuzzy fog-dweller with a face like a teddy bear, the olinguito (pictured) is the first carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in more than three decades, a new study says. The 2-pound (0.9-kilogram) creature didn't make itself easy to find. The orange-brown mammal lives out a solitary existence in the dense, hard-to-study cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, which inspired part of its Latin name Bassaricyon neblina: Neblina is Spanish for "fog." What's more, the large-eyed critter is active only at night, when it hunts for fruit in its Andean habitat. Finding a previously unknown mammal is relatively rare, and finding a carnivore—which are less plentiful than herbivores—is "incredibly rare," according to the study, led by Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. (Also see "Pictures: 14 Rarest and Weirdest Mammal Species Named.") That's why the "spectacular" new species is "my most exciting discovery yet," Helgen said at a press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C. The olinguito is now the smallest known member of the raccoon family. Click through for a closer look at some of its relatives. —Christine Dell'Amore

Teddy-Bear Face

A fuzzy fog-dweller with a face like a teddy bear, the olinguito (pictured) is the first carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in more than three decades, a new study says. The 2-pound (0.9-kilogram) creature didn't make itself easy to find. The orange-brown mammal lives out a solitary existence in the dense, hard-to-study cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, which inspired part of its Latin name Bassaricyon neblina: Neblina is Spanish for "fog." What's more, the large-eyed critter is active only at night, when it hunts for fruit in its Andean habitat. Finding a previously unknown mammal is relatively rare, and finding a carnivore—which are less plentiful than herbivores—is "incredibly rare," according to the study, led by Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. (Also see "Pictures: 14 Rarest and Weirdest Mammal Species Named.") That's why the "spectacular" new species is "my most exciting discovery yet," Helgen said at a press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C. The olinguito is now the smallest known member of the raccoon family. Click through for a closer look at some of its relatives. —Christine Dell'Amore
Photograph courtesy Mark Gurney

New Carnivore Revealed: Photos of the Olinguito and its Kin

The world's newest carnivore, the olinguito, shares the South American treetops with other fuzzy members of the raccoon family.

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