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Eurasian Water Shrew
Urla
Information
Classification Mammal
Location Northern Eurasia, from Ireland to North Korea
Conservation Status Least Concern
Scientific Name Neomys fodiens

The Eurasian water shrew, (Neomys fodiens), known in the United Kingdom as the water shrew, is a relatively large shrew, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, with a tail up to three-quarters as long again. It has short, dark fur, often with a few white tufts, a white belly, and a few stiff hairs around the feet and tail. It lives close to fresh water, hunting aquatic insects, snails, molluscs and small amphibians, especially newts, and other prey in the water and nearby. Its fur traps bubbles of air in the water which greatly aids its buoyancy, but requires it to anchor itself to remain underwater for more than the briefest of dives.

Like many shrews, the water shrew has venomous saliva, making it one of the few venomous mammals, although it is not able to puncture the skin of large animals such as humans. Highly territorial, it lives a solitary life and is found throughout northern Eurasia, from Ireland to North Korea.

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