Gallery - Insectivores
A group where many primitive characteristics have been retained-small size,plantigrade feet,small brain,long mobile snout,cheek teeth with sharp interlocking cusps for eating insects and worms. In other respects they are very diverse, as can be seen from the three british families.
Head and body 70-85mm, tail 45mm, eats mainly insects, worms and spiders,they will also eat carrion.
The Eurasian Water Shrew,is a relatively large shrew, up to 10 centimetres (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 its invertebrate 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 if it wishes to remain underwater for more than the briefest of dives.
Front legs greatly enlarged and spade-like for digging. It lives almost entirely underground in an extensive tunnel system as it feeds almost entirely on earthworms.
Eats slugs, worms and a wide range of insects together with fallen fruit and fungi. Almost entirely nocturnal and very noisy when foraging. Hibernates October-April in a nest of dry leaves but often active well into winter.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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