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any of three species of amphibious and carnivorous tropical African insectivores that are not "true" shrews (family Soricidae). All are nocturnal and den in cavities and burrows in stream banks; tunnel entrances are underwater. Otter shrews have small eyes and ears and a fleshy broad, flat muzzle that ends in a leathery pad. The muzzle is covered abundantly with sensitive whiskers. The margins of the hind feet have fringes of skin, and the second and third toes are fused