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 height of the breeding season is in late May and June, although it varies with the weather. Shrews communicate with each other by scent and high-pitched squeaks and twitters. The male approaches a female to see if she is ready to mate. If she is not they may fight instead.

After a gestation period (time between mating and birth) of 24 days, 3-8 young are born in a chamber within the female's burrow. The new-born babies are blind and hairless. At about 4 weeks old they venture out of the nest and the family often travels in procession, the mother leading and the babies hanging on to the one in front. At five weeks they are full size and their mother drives them away. By this time the female may already be pregnant again. The young from an early litter may breed that same year. Many youngsters die during the winter, killed either by cold, starvation or predators.

Read More: Water shrews and humans

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