Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Musk Shrew

Musk-Shrew, a name for several shrews, from their musky odour. Those of Europe, also called Desmans, constitute the genus Myogale, and are aquatic animals of rat-like form, with webbed feet and compressed scaly tail, which serves as a swimming organ. The snout is produced into a flexible proboscis, with which they probe the mud for their food - leeches, worms, and insect larvse. The Pyrenean Desman (M. Pyrenaica), about eight inches long, with a tail as much more, has chestnut fur; the Common Desman (M. moschatci), from southern Russia, is much larger. Both are taken in large numbers for their skins, which are of commercial value. The Indian Musk-shrews belong to the genus Crocidura, and their musky secretion is so strong that it is commonly believed they can infect liquor with a musky taste by merely passing over the bottle. Musky wine and beer are certainly met with in India, but Jerdon thinks this is caused by these animals infecting the corks before they are used.