It is a totally different soricomorph predator of rodents than the smaller leaping devil of the North American deserts. It is sausage-shaped with a blunt, strong head and powerful shovel-like paws. It swims through the sand rather than burrowing, bursting into rodents' nesting chambers (such as of sand flapjacks), which it locates using the sensory pits at the end of its nose. It is almost completely hairless and avoids the extremes of temperature by remaining underground for most of the time. When it is at rest it lies just below the surface with only its eyes and nostrils protruding.