Name: Water Shrew
Scientific name: Neomys fodiens
Nature Stars: 70
About: Our largest shrew, up to 9.5cm long, plus a tail of up to 8cm. The Water Shrew, as the name suggests, lives almost entirely in wetland habitats, spending much of its time hunting for invertebrate prey, even swimming underwater to catch caddisfly and mayfly larvae. They have a fringe of stiffer hairs on their tail and on their large back feet to help with swimming. Water Shrews live in small burrows in the bank.
How to identify: A large shrew, black above and white below. The only shrew likely to be seen in the water.
Where: Widespread, found everywhere except for the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Scottish islands, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland
Fantastic fact: Water Shrews have a poisonous bite: venom in their saliva helps to kill their prey!
Photograph credit: Geoffrey Kinns