WATER SHREW, Sorex palustris
In Eastern Ontario
Painting by Aleta Karstad
Sorex Palustris, the Water Shrew,
is seldom found far from water. This is the second one I have seen in 20 years in eastern Ontario. It was killed by our cat, at least half a kilometre from the creek on 18 August, 2000. It must have been searching for a more watery habitat than the limestone bed creek which has dried down to isolated pools in our month-long drought.
I settled down to paint it right away, life-size, in a position which would show its nearly black coat, fringed hind feet (used for swimming), and bi-coloured tail. This little creature measures about 8cm from nose tip to tail base. I used Winsor & Newton watercolours with distilled water and Raphael sable brushes, on Strathmore Performance Bristol, smooth.
Copyright held by Aleta Karstad, image available upon request