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any of 12 species of amphibious shrews that have a broad, fleshy muzzle, large chest, and long hind legs and digits. Most water shrews live in montane habitats and forage in clear, cold streams and small rivers. They use all four feet to swim, but most of the propulsive force comes from the hind feet. Their relatively large brain is associated with enlarged nerves leading to the shrews' abundant and sensitive whiskers, which are used to locate prey underwater by touch. Water shrews do not hunt by using smell, sight, or hearing, as their olfactory regions of the brain are reduced, their eyes small, and their ears hidden in fur