(Whitaker and Hamilton, 1998). living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. (Beneski and Stinson, 1987; Wilson and Ruff, 1999), The breeding season is usually from December to September (Nagorsen, 1996). The American water shrew has a larger skull ranging from 21–23 mm (0.83–0.91 in) and width 10–11 mm (0.39–0.43 in) and has a dental formula of 184.108.40.206.1.1.3 × 2 = 32 teeth. Question about your subscription? Other threats to this secretive animal are loss of habitat to residential and recreational development, and stream side logging. Unusually, water shrews have a mildly poisonous saliva which enables them to tackle quite large prey, indeed these shrews are fearless hunters. Cats often choose not to eat shrews because they produce unpleasant, oily substances from scent glands which make them distasteful to predators. The hind feet (18 to 21 mm) are larger than the fore feet and have a trim of 1 mm long stiff hairs (fibrillae) on the toes and the inner and outer sides of the feet (Peterson, 1966). Taxon Information Comp. Water shrews swim fast, remaining submerged up to 20 seconds, hunting frogs, fish, snails, mollusks and insects, which it immobilizes with its venomous saliva. Water shrews can live without food for up to 3 hours, but captive shrews have been found to feed almost every 10 minutes (Nagorsen, 1996). Help us improve the site by taking our survey. It is the smallest and least specialized species of water shrew, weighing up to 18 grams, with a body 6 to 9 cm long and a slightly shorter tail. The testes of sexually mature males can weigh more than 110 mg (Conaway, 1952). breeding is confined to a particular season, reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female. All are classified in the family Soricidae of the order Soricimorpha, which belongs to a larger group of mammals referred to as insectivores. 1 0 obj They also feed on many terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms, snails and beetles. Water shrew, any of 12 species of amphibious shrews that have a broad, fleshy muzzle, large chest, and long hind legs and digits. Areas with high humidity surrounded by heavy vegetation, logs and rocks are preferred. British Columbia: Royal British Columbia Museum. These odors have been proposed to serve to attract mates or for species recognition (Hamilton, 1940). having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Breeding habits of the water shrew. Updates? Its fur is dark gray on top and slightly lighter on the belly. Amer. The various Shrew species have vastly different diets. They eat every 3-4 hours to maintain energy and body heat. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services. Shrew Diet. In water, the fur is lined with a layer of air that reduces their heat loss by 50% (Calder, 1969) as well as make them buoyant. Mammals of the Eastern United States. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It can remain underwater for 45 seconds or more at a time and is able to skitter across the surface supported by air bubbles trapped in the feet and toe fringes. (Beneski and Stinson, 1987)Biogeographic Regions; nearctic. As with all shrews, the water shrew has a compact body, with short legs and a pointy snout. Midland Nat., 48: 219-248. x��ZYo�H~7��Џ"`uؼ9�8�x6��V&2�@Q�mDR��߶]U}R���Y쮮��^ܱ�~�������|u�^./^���a����B�O���E�R!x����"d������k��`��./^������ҢE��ev�tR�%��ڻ�d����A_�A��D���۵���} Their typical aquatic prey include caddis fly larvae, freshwater shrimps, water skaters, small fish, tadpoles and water beetles though they also hunt on land where they take worms, larvae and beetles. The elegant water shrew (Nectogale elegans) of continental Southeast Asia is the most specialized for aquatic life. Their life expectancy is short; the longest likely lifespan is only about a year and a half, though high mortality means that the average is much lower. Whitaker, J., W. Hamilton. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Contributor Galleries As the name would suggest, water shrews are often found around streams and other aquatic habitats. Comp. The shrew contains black and brown fur colors and changes depending on the season. animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Water shrews are widespread in Britain but rarely are they easy to spot.
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