Protecting Europe's weirdest animal: Pyrenean desman

Last updated at 13:57
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BBC's Rebecca Morelle finds out about the rare Pyrenean desman

Scientists in Europe are trying to protect a creature that few people have heard of, and even fewer have set their eyes on - the Pyrenean desman.

Not much is known about these strange little beasts because they're really difficult to find.

They only come out at night and live in streams in the mountains of Spain.

They look a bit like rats but have long black snouts, which they use to sniff out food under water, and large webbed feet for swimming.

Pyrenean desmanpere aymerich
The little beast is only about as big as a hamster

They're about the size of a hamster, with a glossy grey coat.

Scientists are tracking the animals with microchips because they're worried that their numbers are getting smaller.

They examine the beasts by catching them in long, tube-shaped mesh traps - but it's not easy!

Dr Yolanda Melero, who's working on the project, said that it's important to find out more about the species so they can be protected.