A poison is known to be secreted by the submaxillary gland of the European Water Shrew but this does not affect small mammals or frogs when injected subcutaneously. The feeding habits of a captive water shrew are described and it is suggested that this poison, transmitted by its bite, enabled it to minimise the struggles of its larger invertebrate prey. The bites of a common shrew and of a mole have no such effect.
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