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Posted by on Dec 25, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is a Shrew?

What Is a Shrew?

A shrew is a small, furry animal that looks like a sharp-nosed mouse. It is in fact a much closer relative of moles. Shrews are among the smallest animals in the world. Some are only about two inches long and weigh as little as a penny.

Shrews are fiercely territorial, driving off rivals and only coming together to mate. Many species dig burrows for caching food and hiding from predators, although this is not universal.

In general, shrews are terrestrial creatures that forage for seeds, insects, nuts, worms, and a variety of other foods in leaf litter and dense vegetation, but some specialize in climbing trees, living underground, living under snow, or even hunting in water.

They have small eyes and generally poor vision, but have excellent senses of hearing and smell. They are very active animals, with voracious appetites.

Shrews have unusually high metabolic rates, above that expected in comparable small mammals. They are constantly scurrying about in search of food, to satisfy their enormous appetites.

Each day, a shrew must eat as much as or more than its own weight in insects, worms and snails, to keep up its supply of energy. We rarely see shrews because they spend almost all of their time hidden under leaves and bushes eating, eating, and eating.

Content for this question contributed by Curtis Reinhardt, resident of Chino, San Bernardino County, California, USA