The small mammal shrew or shrew mouse belongs to the large family Soricidae with 376 species in 26 genera. Though the mammal might seem like a mouse with long snout, it does not belong to any member of the rodent family. Shrew has sharp, spike- like teeth and long narrow bodies with five toes and beady eyes. Shrew stands amongst the first placental mammals that evolved during the dawn age of mammals and are known to inhibit the earth some 50 million years ago. It has a weak vision but have sense of hearing and smell. The smallest mammal in the world belongs to the shrew family and is known as Etruscan Shrew (Suncus etruscus) which is just 3.5 cm long and weighs 2 g only. The shrew is a highly energetic mammal with ravenous appetites and unusual metabolic rates. Read on to know all interesting and amazing information about this animal.
Facts About Shrew
Subfamily: Crocidurinae (white-toothed shrews), Myosoricinae (African white-toothed shrews) and Soricinae (red-toothed shrews)
Species: 376 species of shrew in 26 genera
Body Length: 6.4 cm to 24 cm
Weight: Ranges from 2 g to 100 g
Life Span: 12 to 30 months
Diet: Insectivorous- insects, worms, small fish, seeds, nuts and frogs.
Range: Found throughout the world except New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand
Habitat: Major tropical and temperate land masses
Age of Sexual Maturity: Between 3 and 4 months of age
Gestation Period: 17 to 32 days
Number of Offspring: 10 litters a year
Interesting & Amazing Information On Shrew
- Shrew is covered with a soft, short and thick fur that is brown or gray in color.
- Among the 376 species of shrew, North America has more than 40 species including the most common short tailed shrew.
- In general, most shrews are terrestrial animals (lives on land) that can climb trees and live underground even in the snow layer, while a few are aquatic. The aquatic shrew has stiff hairs on the feet that help them to run on the surface of water by trapping air bubbles.
- House Shrew (Suncus murinus), inhibiting in the tropical Asia is the largest species of the shrew with 15 cm length and 100 gm weight.
- The shrew is a highly energetic mammal with such a fast metabolic rate that it should be eating day and night to keep alive. Shrew can actually eat 2 or 3 times its own weight in food.
- A shrew is a solitary mammal that is only seen together during the mating season. It is highly territorial and cannot tolerate either of the sex with them and would always drive off its rivals.
- The shrew has a high brain to body mass ratio as it holds 10% of its mass in its brain.
- Though the shrew is active in both day and night, it is mainly a nocturnal animal.
- A female shrew can have up to 10 litters in a year. The shrew living in temperate zone stop breeding during the winter season, while those in the tropics breeds throughout the year.
- Some of the species of shrew is venomous and has toxic saliva that is painful for humans. However, it is not harmful for the humans.
- A shrew can easily be alarmed with a sudden noise like lightening which can even lead to its death.