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. 

Water shrews and humans

The water shrew is the least abundant and least widespread of the British shrews but it is not considered rare. In some areas it seems to have declined drastically in numbers and this is probably due to the destruction of its habitat by the draining of waterways and wetlands and pollution.

Sometimes the water shrew is regarded as a pest because it eats the spawn of valuable fish stocks. Normally though, the shy, secretive water shrew is rarely seen and it is difficult to spot. If you are walking quietly along the bank of a slow-moving, clear, shallow stream, or in a watercress field, you may hear its shrill squeaks amongst the vegetation. Look carefully in the mud along a river bank for the shrew’s tiny footprints.

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