Measurement: Size: 14-16.5 cm Weight: 13 g (.5 oz)
Description: Our largest shrew is found around cold streams and wetlands from the montane to the subalpine. It is a strong swimmer, with partially webbed toes on its back feet. It is darker than most of our other shrews with a charcoal gray back and sides, and a light underside. The tail is also dark above and light below. They spend much of their time diving in marshes and slow rivers looking for larvae and aquatic insects. Large fish may turn the tables with the shrews becoming lunch. Water Shrews also hunt the shoreline. When they swim, they give the illusion of walking on the surface. They do not have much insulation to stay warm in cold water, so their fur is designed to trap significant amounts of air on the surface. This increases their buoyancy necessitating quite an effort to stay underwater, and giving their submerged body a silvery sheen. They use stiff hairs on the rear feet to quickly groom after coming ashore in order to stay as dry (and warm) as possible.
Northern Water Shrew sightings
a guide to help you spot some
Northern Water Shrew