from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Either of two aquatic, insectivorous, molelike mammals, Desmana moschata of eastern Europe and western Asia or Galemys pyrenaicus of southwest Europe, having dense brownish fur, a long snout, and a flattened scaly tail.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An aquatic or semi-aquatic insectivore of the mole family, found in Europe.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An amphibious, insectivorous mammal found in Russia (Myogale moschata). It is allied to the moles, but is called muskrat by some English writers.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A musk-shrew or musk-rat: the name of two distinct species of aquatic insectivorous mammals of the genus Myogale or Galemys, constituting the subfamily Myogalinæ (which see).
- n. [capitalized]
- n. A generic name of the musk-shrews.
A desman essentially is one of two species of aquatic moles Russian Desmana moschata, or Pyrenean, Galemys pyrenaicus, though they look sort of like a cross between an otter, a mole and Jimmy Durante.
The ecoregion hosts other rare and threatened small mammals, such as the snow vole (Microtus nivalis), the Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus), and the endemic Cantabrian hare (Lepus castroviejoi).
The insectivorous Pyrenean desman Galemys pyrenaicus, occurs in lowland elevation.
I like to think that it looked like a giant desman, but that only helps if you know what a desman is.
Also present are wild boar (Sus scrofa), chamois (Rupicapra parva), red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and seldom seen, the Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus).