Each female is capable of producing several litters in that time. Water shrews are unsociable, solitary animals that avoid contact with each other except when the males leave their territories in search of females. The Tibetan water shrew has sharp teeth that seem to be specialized for catching fish, which are its main prey. Most water shrews live close to fresh water, defending a small area of bank in which their burrow is located. Photo by NPS/April Henderson on Flickr in the Public Domain. It also lives in damp conifer forests. Water shrew (Neomys anomalus). © 2020 Young People's Trust For the Environment. Stiff hairs fringe the water shrew’s feet and form a keel on the underside of its tail. After each dive, they shake their fur dry. Try 3 issues of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5! The young are weaned after 40 days. They are also able to shed excess water by squeezing through their tight burrows. A shrew is very small, so it quickly burns up its energy reserves. There are several species of shrew that are at home in water. Very dark upperparts and white underparts. If it did not feed continuously, a shrew would die within a few hours. They are even occasionally found on sea shores and saltmarshes. Bristles are present on the underside of the tail and on the paws, helping the shrew to swim more easily. Adult water shrews are around 15cm long - the head/body is: 67-96mm: & tail is: 45-77mm 3. They have prodigious appetites, thanks to their high metabolic rate, and they must eat about half their body weight every day. Females born early enough can breed in their first year. Air is trapped in the fur, which gives the shrew buoyancy, but makes it harder to dive. Description: short, glossy hair and silvery- white underparts. Eurasian water shrews live in burrows and occupy distinct territories. Learn more about what makes Shrews unique below. Our best wishes for a productive day. One of the most aquatic of all shrews, this species occurs throughout Alaska and Canada. It is three times more than the smallest, the pygmy shrew, and about the same size as a small wood mouse. It extends south into high, mountainous regions of the United States, most notably along the Rockies, where climatic conditions are similar to those found further north. Habitat: usually lives near rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and marshes. Their bite is not powerful enough to fully penetrate human skin, but they can still cause a painful rash. Size: length, 14cm of which tail is just under half. Water shrews’ saliva contains a venom that subdues their invertebrate prey. Most of their prey are the aquatic youngsters of insects such as crane flies and caddis flies. A water shrew’s thick, water-repellent fur provides protection against the cold and wet. They are also able to shed excess water by squeezing through their tight burrows. Distribution: Tibet, south-central China, Nepal and northern Burma. The Tibetan water shrew is the only species of shrew to have webbed feet. The shrew's fur traps a blanket of air as the animal submerges, which prevents the little mammal from losing body heat too quickly. They have a dark grayish body with a stumpy tail. If it did not feed continuously, a shrew would die within a few hours. Size: 8 cm (3 in); 8 - 18 g (0.3 - 0.6 oz). The western limit of its range is Britain. Sometimes away from water, even on dry downland. The Young People's Trust for the Environment is a charity which aims to encourage young people's understanding of the environment and the need for sustainability. Most water shrews live close to fresh water, defending a small area of bank in which their burrow is located. Most aquatic shrews forage by making repeated dives in the same spot, each dive lasting usually less than 20 seconds. This shrew lives in a burrow dug in a stream bank. Unlike the other two UK shrews, the water shrews tail is … Water shrews are the largest of the British shrews. If no prey is found, they move along the stream lm (3 ft) or so and dive in a new position. Water shrews are semi-aquatic mammals which use water and wetlands for shelter and resources – in this case mainly for food. Eurasian water shrews live in burrows and occupy distinct territories. The snout is very long with a pink tip on the nose. Breeding: 2 - 3 litters of 3 - 10 young produced in spring and summer. Fun Facts about Shrews for Kids. A typical litter contains about five or six young, although twice this number is possible. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. Discover fantastic facts about Britain's largest shrew. They hunt at all times of the day and night, mostly in water. The Eurasian water shrew is the largest shrew species in Britain. A shrew is very small, so it quickly burns up its energy reserves. Not Rodents – At first glance, you might think this animals is a rodent. Food: Small fish and aquatic invertebrates. The water shrew is the largest of the five species of British shrews and like all shrews leads a hectic life, busy by day and night on the look-out for food. The water shrew has stiff hairs on its feet that allow it to scamper across the surface of the water. For 101 facts on meerkats, click here. Red-coloured iron compounds coat the tips of its teeth, which makes them more hard-wearing. Thanks! Interesting Facts About the Shrew. You can find a shrew species in just about any habitat. You can unsubscribe at any time. Some shrews are aquatic and live in or near the water. Water shrew on Pebble Creek. Food: Invertebrates caught in water and on land; may also hunt small fish. Some members of this species live farther away from flowing water, in damp areas such as hedgerows. Shrews have beady eyes and pointed noses. The eyes are very small, as are the which are largely hidden by fur. Breeding: Average 5 - 6, range 3 - 12; weaning occurs at 42 days. It does not live in Ireland. Males of this large shrew species tend to be longer than females. Water shrews inhabit all sorts of freshwater habitats, but are particular numerous in water cress beds. Shrews live in moist, wet places like forests, woodlands or near ponds. Habitat: Near streams and other fresh-water habitats. In the wild, they will die if they go without food for about three hours. A water shrew’s thick, water-repellent fur provides protection against the cold and wet. 3 Even a keel. Distribution: widespread throughout Britain except for Ireland and some offshore islands. Food: worms, insect larvae, snails, crustaceans, spiders, fish, frogs and tadpoles. The western limit of its range is Britain. In smaller species, these hairs allow the shrews to run across the surface of the water for short distances, supported by the surface tension. In captivity, water shrews have been seen feeding once every ten minutes. Distribution: Ranges across most of northern Europe into Asia, reaching the Pacific coast, and south into north Korea. These small mammals are highly unusual, possessing a venomous saliva used to overcome prey, although they present no danger to people. Weighing up to 18g, the water shrew is Britain’s largest shrew. By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions. It does not live in Ireland. 7 things you didn’t know about the water shrew, 60+ wildlife and nature books for children and teenagers, Wood mouse guide: how to identify, diet and habitat, Grass snake guide: species facts, how to identify, and where to see, European water vole guide: identification, diet and habitat, Research reveals why primates enjoy a tipple. The species is one of the red-toothed shrews. Several species of water shrews even take to streams. Water shrews breed during the summer. These frantic little mammals are very well adapted to an aquatic lifestyle. Both are thought to help propel the animal in the water. 2. They are vulnerable to many predators, including birds of prey. The Eurasian water shrew is found across Europe and Asia. All of these have silky fur that repels water, long tails and fringes of stiff hairs along the edges of their feet, toes, fingers and tails that help them swim. Gestation Period: 20 days; 2 - 3 litters a year, born in a nest of grass. Only a handful of other mammals deploy venom. The water shrew is a member of the sub-family Soricinae, the red-toothed shrews, characterized by the colour of their teeth, which is produced by iron compounds that toughen the enamel. The water shrew is the largest of the five species of British shrews and like all shrews leads a hectic life, busy by day and night on the look-out for food. Size: 9 - 13 cm (3.5 - 5 in); 25 - 45 g (0.05 - 0.09 lb). Eyebrows and ear-tips often white. Unlike other shrew species found in Britain, the water shrew has venomous saliva that stuns its prey. The Tibetan water shrew has a long dark coloured tail with several fringes of short, stiff white hairs that shine with rainbow iridescence when wet. Makus Nolf. Found in close proximity to fresh water. Please donate £1 to help YPTE to continue its work of inspiring young people to look after our world.
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