Species Focus

Water shrew

(Neomys fodiens)

Water shrew

Water shrews are a focus species for the former golf course habitat area at Waterbeach.

Discover: Water shrew

This is the UK’s largest shrew and spends most of its time hunting for small fish, frogs, water beetles and snails in wetland features, swimming underwater to catch its prey in the evenings. Water shrews have black and silvery fur with a long pointed nose.

  • Conservation status: Legally protected in the UK.
  • Measurements: Length: 6-10 cm, tail: 4.5-8 cm, weight: 8-23 g.

This unusual shrew has a venomous bite to help immobilise its prey. It also has red-tipped teeth.

Water shrew

Can you spot: Look out for water shrews in the water! They are the only type of shrew likely to be seen there. The best time to spot them is when they are most active before dawn.

Did you know: A water shrew's stiff hairs along the underside of its body, feet and tail help it to swim as it doesn’t have webbed feet.

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