5 September 2012

Desman

The Pyrenean Desman (Galemys pyrenaicus)
Named after the place of its home, the Pyrenean desman is a small aquatic insectivore closely related to moles, also known as the Iberian desman . This adept swimmer has many adaptations to its aquatic habitat, including an elongated head and body with a long tail, webbed, paddle-like hindfeet, and the ability to close both ears and nostrils to prevent water getting in. In contrast to moles, which have powerful digging front legs, desmans have powerful hind legs that are longer than the forefeet to help propel them through the water. The tail is also slightly flattened vertically, acting as a rudder and helping to steer and direct the animal as it swims. A double layer of fine dark greyish-brown fur includes a dense waterproof underfur and oily guard hairs. The eyes are tiny and eyesight is poor, but the long, black, almost hairless snout is highly sensitive and used to locate prey. The extremely rare desman lives at an altitude of 2200m spending most of its nocturnal waking time in the clear crystal mountain streams that descend from the Pyrenees.

10 comments:

  1. Is this a new pet? I'm always amazed, as much as I love animals and try to learn about them, that there are still animals I've never heard of. But how did you come to know this one?

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  2. this that thing that was on the gnus?

    is it critically endangered or something?

    Let's launch an appeal so we can all go out to the Pyrenees and rescue this little critter!! A sort of free holiday if you will, paid for largely by suckers, er I mean sponsors.... you know like those who walk the Great Wall of China or build a school in Honduras..... I'd love to go to Honduras!

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  3. JAN BLAWAT There was an item about the desman in the BBC News website and like you I had never heard of the creature before.
    ARCTIC FOX It's not "criically endangered" - unlike the Yorkshire Arctic Fox which is going to be hunted to extinction in the next few days...so I guess you can forget Honduras and the corrugated iron school with all those smiling Honduran kids.... Ah well.

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  4. "Great" minds think alike! I was also intrigued by the BBC article and mailed the link to all my Catalan chums to see if they'd ever heard of it as apparently "Catalonia's Alt Pirineu Natural Park is one of the last strongholds for this species." The answer was no.
    We'll have to set up an expedition...

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  5. ....and your point is?
    tee hee

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  6. BRIAN Not a hunting expedition I hope! There's no way I'd want to eat barbecued desman.
    EARL GRAY Ha! Ha! Your little joke didn't nosedive.

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  7. Close related to those other Desmans of course - the Lynham, O'Connor, Tutu and Dekker.

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  8. SHOOTING PARROTS Ha! Ha! Nice one!

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  9. Here simply to increase the hits.

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  10. Same as Katherine ~ am certainly not part of any Desman preservation society.

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