The Pyrenean desman is a relative of the mole and is a strong swimmer, catching insect larvae and shrimps by using its extremely sensitive nose.
At least 3.5 years.
Head and body length is 11-16 cm with a tail of 12-16 cm, and weighing 35-80g.
Desmans are close relatives of the moles and are adapted for swimming. They have an elongated head and body with a long tail. The Pyrenean desman's tail is rounded rather than flattened. Their eyes are tiny but their snout is very sensitive. They swim using their powerful hind legs and tail rather than the powerful digging front legs of moles, and they have a double layer of fine dark brown fur: a dense waterproof underfur and oily guard hairs. Stiff hairs also help enlarge the hind legs and tail for swimming, and the feet are webbed. Their nostrils and ears can be closed by valves to prevent water from getting in.
The Pyrenean desman is now restricted to the northern half of the Iberian peninsula and the French side of the Pyrenees.
Freshwater mountain streams.
Aquatic insect larvae, shrimps and snails.
The Pyrenean desman is ungainly on land but is a powerful swimmer and climbs well, using its claws. Although its eyesight is poor, it is said to use echolocation and touch to find its way around and their prey underwater. They live in pairs, with the females' territory completely within the males' slightly larger range. The pair scent mark the territory and defend it to the death against intruders.
Females come into heat in January, and may breed three times per year. The gestation period is about 30 days and weaning probably takes place after about 30 days. The litter size averages 3-4. Sexual maturity is probably after about 2 years.
The Pyrenean desman is listed as Vulnerable.