A list of my favorite images of Russian desmans.
The Russian desman (Desmana moschata) is a small semiaquatic mammal that inhabits the Volga, Don and Ural River basins in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
It constructs burrows into the banks of ponds and slow-moving streams but prefers small, overgrown ponds with abundance of insects, crayfish and amphibians.
The Russian desman often lives in small (usually not related) groups of two to five animals and appears to have a complex (but largely unstudied) communication and social system.
The Russian desman is one of two surviving species of the tribe Desmanini, the other being the Pyrenean desman.
Despite its outward similarity to muskrats (a rodent), the Russian desman is actually part of the mole family Talpidae in the order Soricomorpha.
Like other moles, it is functionally blind and obtains much of its sensory input from the touch-sensitive Eimer's organs at the end of its long, bilobed snout. However, the hind feet are webbed and the tail is laterally flattened - specializations for its aquatic habitat.
The body is 18 to 21 cm (7.1 to 8.3 in) long while the tail is 17 to 20 cm (6.7 to 7.9 in) in length. Easily the largest species of mole, it weighs 400 to 520 g (14 to 18 oz).
Decidedly rich and thick in nature, desman fur used to be highly sought after by the fur trade. Consequently, the Russian desman is now a protected species under Russian law.
However, due to loss of habitat (farming), water pollution, illegal fishing nets and the introduction of non-native species (e.g. muskrat), population levels continue to decline. In the mid-1970s, an estimated 70,000 desmans were left in the wild; by 2004, the figure was only 35,000.
However, in some Russian regions, the number of desmans appears to be increasing.
8 votesAnimals - R (17 lists)
list by kathy
Published 11 months, 3 weeks ago