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 usually lives alone and each one occupies a territory which it fiercely defends from other shrews. Fighting is common and shrill squeals can sometimes be heard as a territorial dispute takes place. Each shrew digs a shallow burrow system, sometimes in a bank with a tunnel leading to a nest chamber, which is lined with a ball of grass, roots and moss. The burrow system may have an underwater entrance.

Although the water shrew, as its name implies, tends to be found in watery habitats - it particularly likes watercress beds - it often lives away from water. Some live on stony beaches, probably feeding on sandhoppers and flies along the high tide line. Others may be found in farmland, woods and hedgerows.

Read More: Feeding and swimming

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