American Water Shrew

The American Water Shrew (Sorex palustris) or Northern Water Shrew, is a large North American shrew found in aquatic habitats.

This animal is dark grey in color with lighter under parts with a long tail. Air bubbles are trapped in the thick fur when the animal dives underwater. Its feet have a fringe of hairs, more visible on the larger hind feet. They allow this animal to run on the water’s surface. Its body is about 5.91 in (15 cm) long including a 3.14 in (8 cm) long tail. It weighs about .46 oz (13 g).

This animal is found near streams and lakes along the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. It is also found across Canada and the Midwestern United States.

It swims well and makes short dives in search of food. Its diet includes aquatic insects, small fish, tadpoles, slugs and snails. It is thought to use sound to help find prey. Predators include hawks, owls, snakes, mustelids and large fish.

This animal is active during the day but they are more active at night. It is generally solitary and territorial except during mating. The female has 2 to 3 litters of 5 to 7 young in a nest. They live in a tunnel or under a log. Water shrews typically live about 18 months.