Shrew species: Water shrew, crumb, elephant

Shrew species: Water shrew, crumb, elephant

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Shrews are one of the the smallest mammals on the ground. Despite their size, people often refer to them as "little devils" for their characteristic ferocity and aggressiveness. If necessary, these babies are able to get even with large frogs and even mice.

What order does the shrew belong to?

This animal belongs to the family of mammals, the shrew order. For a long time, scientists attributed them to the order of insectivores.

How to recognize?

Gardeners often confuse shrews with field mice, but if you look closely, you can find a number of differences between them.

  1. The shrew is different elongated muzzle similar to a proboscis.
  2. The head is large with an elongated facial region. The eyes are small, round, black. The teeth are sharp with large anterior incisors.
  3. Compared to field mice, the animal has more compact dimensions... Legs are short. Body length is no more than 3-4 cm, weight is about 2 grams. Only the largest individual (giant shrew) can reach 18 cm and weigh 200 grams.
  4. The coat is fluffy, thick, short, velvety. The color ranges from gray (fawn) to brown. The tummy is often whitish or lighter than the main color.
  5. Medium or elongated tail, exceeds the length of the body.


Researchers suggest that in nature there are about 260 species of shrews... They are found in a variety of natural zones, adapting to the climatic characteristics of the regions. Not found only on the Australian continent and the North Pole. Twenty-one species have been recorded in Russia. Let's take a look at some of them:

  1. Dwarf shrew - a small animal of gray-brown or smoky color with an elongated muzzle. On the tail, protruding (guard) small villi are noticeable. The size of the little body does not exceed 3.5-4.5 cm. The teeth are sharp, the front incisors are large, of a characteristic snow-white color. Among the people, the species was dubbed the Etruscan shrew and the little-toothed baby. It lives in the mountainous regions of Europe.
  2. Common shrew (forest shrew) is a common species of the family of shrews. Found in the northern part of the European continent. It settles in grass and shrub thickets, forest undergrowth. But, it can also live on personal plots, harming agricultural land. The size of the body is average - 5-7 cm, the length of the tail is 6-8 cm. The color of the coat is dark brown, the abdomen is light. The muzzle is extended forward. We talked more about the shrews here, and read more about the species of shrews here.
  3. Tiny shrew (Chersky's shrew) is the smallest representative of mammals found in Russia and the smallest insectivore. Transpalaearctic representative. The habitat extends from the Scandinavian Peninsula to the islands of Japan and Sakhalin. Occurs in the Primorsky Territory, the Oryol Region, on the borders with the forest-tundra, in Kazakhstan.
  4. House shrew (long-tailed white-toothed shrew) is a large animal, reaching 6-7 cm in length. The color is brown-gray. Distributed in Germany, Africa. In our country, it is found in Siberia and in the northern territories of Russia. Often settles in sheds, storerooms, barns and houses, harming agricultural land.

Other types

  1. Baby shrew (baby shrew) is the smallest mammal in North America. Distributed in Canada and the USA. It settles in deciduous, coniferous forests and open places. The length of the body with the tail is 5 cm. The color of the fur is gray-brown.
  2. Elephant shrew (jumper) is a small African mammal. Differs in long hind legs, bright brown-red coat color. Due to its physiological characteristics, it can develop fast speed and jump over obstacles over 1 meter. Modern researchers attribute this mysterious animal to the Afrotheria order. In the literature, it was ranked as an insectivore, and even a lagomorph. The subspecies has 16 individuals living on the African continent.
  3. Water shrew (common kutora) is a large representative, reaching 11-12 cm in length, weighing 10-20 grams. The coat is thick, velvety black, has the ability not to get wet in water. The muzzle is elongated. Feet with stiff bristles that increase the rowing surface and help with swimming. The water curator lives in Norway, France, Sakhalin, the Scandinavian Peninsula, in Asia it is distributed from Northern Mongolia to China. May be found in Kazakhstan.
  4. Giant shrew (house shrew) is an animal that lives in Africa, Asia, the Near and Far East. He gained his fame thanks to Chuchundra - the character of the famous story by R. Kipling Riki-Tikki-Tavi. Large representative, reaching 11-12 cm in length. Fur color is dark gray. Often settles among people, causing damage to agriculture.

In agriculture

One of the interesting features of shrews is their high metabolic rate. The animals are able to hunt and eat almost continuously! The daily diet exceeds the weight of the animal by 6-7 times. The main food of shrews is insects, therefore, to some extent, they even benefit gardeners. In orchards and vegetable gardens, they eat the larvae of May beetles, caterpillars, weevils and other pests.

But, unfortunately, insects are not the only food. With their elongated nose, they can dig in the ground, gnaw on potatoes, beets and other root crops, as well as damage the thin roots of fruit trees, tomatoes and peppers.

In addition, the shrew is highly fertile. At a time, females bring up to 10-14 cubs. Therefore, if the owners notice harm from shrews on their site, all necessary measures must be taken!

Interesting Facts

Scientists attributes of intelligence to shrewscomparable to dolphins and rats. All thanks to the anatomical shape of the skull. Their cerebral section is enlarged, and the brain is 1/10 of body weight, which exceeds the data for humans and dolphins.

In the distant past, people attributed healing properties to animals. It was believed that the ointmentprepared from the burnt tail of a shrew can serve as an excellent mad dog bite remedy. Until now, its origin remains a mystery, disputes about belonging and place in the zoological system, as well as about the benefits and harms of agriculture, are being resolved. It is possible that soon we will learn about new discoveries and types of these living beings.

Watch the video: カワネズミWater shrew エサ捕獲 (August 2022).