Blackish brown above ; grayish white beneath : tail two-thirds the length of the body : feet and tail strongly ciliated with white hairs.
S. fodiens, Mem. Brit. An. p. 8. S. Daubentonii, Desm. Mammal. p. 150. Water Shrew, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. I. p. 126. pi. 11. no. 33. Don. Brit. Quad. pi. 6.
Length of the head and body three inches two lines; of the head one inch; of the ears two lines; of the tail two inches.
Upper parts deep brown, approaching to black; under parts pale ash gray, in some individuals silvery white; in general the two colours separated by a well-defined line; a triangular dusky spot on the anus: snout long, somewhat depressed, emarginated at the extremity : whiskers long: eyes small, almost concealed: ears very short, not projecting above the fur, furnished internally with three valves or lobes, on one of which is a tuft of white hair, giving the effect of a white spot upon the auricle: intermediate incisor teeth with the tips ferruginous: tail more slender than in the last species, quadrangular throughout the greater part of its extent, the extreme tip being flattened; dusky, with a cilium of white hairs along its under surface: feet dusky; the toes fringed with white hairs. Weight three drachms. - Obs. English authors do not quite agree in their descriptions of this animal, from which circumstance it would seem that it is either subject to much variation, or that there is some other indigenous species with which it has been confounded.
Not uncommon in many parts of the country, inhabiting marshy districts. Swims and dives with great facility. Preys on insects: is also said to attack frogs. Produces in the Spring from six to eight young.