Aquatic Mammal With Snorkel Nose Is 8,000th Animal in Our Photo Ark

The small, aquatic ball of fur has a snorkel-like nose, webbed feet, and a scaly tail.

AT FIRST GLANCE it looks like any other mammal, but the Pyrenean desman is no run-of-the-mill rodent.

That's because, unlike more common rodents, the aquatic creature has a long snout that it uses to snorkel and sniff out insect prey through the waters of the Iberian peninsula and other parts of Western Europe.

The Pyrenean desman is also unique because it marks the 8,000th animal Sartore has photographed and added to the Photo Ark, his lifelong project to photograph at least 12,000 of Earth's species in captivity. (Read about what inspired Sartore to build his photo ark.)

A Pyrenean desman ( Galemys pyrenaicus) PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

Since Sartore began his initiative 13 years ago, he's been a busy man, visiting over 40 countries to photograph animals in zoos and aquariums. The Nebraska-based photographer uses uniform black-and-white backgrounds to make portraits, which he hopes will lend equal importance to each animal.

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