Giant Otter-shrew

Giant Otter-Shrew
Photo by: KD Dijkstra

Giant Otter-shrew, Potamogale velox, nocturnal carnivorian animal falling under the tenrec family and not the shrew in spite of its name. Its monotypic Potamogale genus probably represents an early branch of the family. The Giant Otter-shrew is, like Otters which it shares superficial similarities with, capable in water. Its Central African rainforest distribution range extends to the east of Cross River in Nigeria.

The Giant Otter-shrew is slim and elongated like an otter, with a flattened head and large muzzle with stiff white vibrissae. It has small eyes and external ears. The thick round body is covered with a dense undercoat and course guard hairs. In the water, its laterally compressed body allows it to swim in fish-like motion, and in land it is clumsy. It builds burrows along riverbank crevices. The Giant Otter-shrew forages underwater for crabs, fish, frogs, insects, and mollusks are eaten, which is located the thick bristles on its snout. Captured individuals die after only a few days.