Mammal Status

Water Shrew Neomys fodiens

photograph of a yellow-necked mouse

Sparsely distributed in the county. Water shrews are one of the species with the fewest records of any in Derbyshire. The current records are generally considered to under-represent the actual distribution but it may reflect genuine rarity. Water shrews occur in rivers, streams, canals and ponds, including rushy areas and small streams on the moors up to at least 500m. They are occasionally found well away from water, as shown by captures while small mammal trapping and individuals found dead on town streets. About half the Derbyshire records are derived from direct sightings, with the rest shared among recoveries from owl pellets and bottles, cat kills, others found dead, live trapping and feeding signs left in plastic tubes. The feeding sign records were obtained during a UK-wide survey organised by the Mammal Society in 2003-2005, in which DMG members participated. In winter air bubbles beneath the ice on ponds can show their presence. Unusual records include one of an animal feeding on dog food in the observer’s kitchen in Bradwell. Water Shrews may use garden ponds and detailed observations of water shrews by Dr Steve Furness in his garden ponds at Calver have revealed a lot of interesting information on their behaviour and ecology

Species identification information

Photo: Derek Whiteley