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Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is the Smallest Mammal?

What Is the Smallest Mammal?

The smallest mammal in the world is the shrew. The tiniest member of the shrew family, the Etruscan shrew also known as the white-toothed pygmy shrew, is about as long as your little finger and weighs less than a penny!

Shrews live in most parts of the world. If you see a shrew in a field or garden, you might mistake it for a mouse until you spot its long, sharp nose. These active animals are almost always hungry. They must eat more than their own weight in insects, worms, and snails each day just to stay alive. Their sharp teeth make it easy for them to kill and eat their prey.

The Etruscan shrew is just one of the hundreds of species of shrew that can be found all over the world. The Etruscan shrew is the smallest variety, but all shrews tend to be very small. Some even have venomous saliva that helps them to immobilize their prey to feed their big appetites!

The Etruscan shrew shares the title of world’s smallest mammal with another creature from Thailand: Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat. It gets its nickname from its size — barely over an inch long — which makes it about the size of a large bumblebee!

Thai zoologist Kitti Thonglongya discovered the bumblebee bat in 1973. It gets the “hog-nosed” part of its name from the fact that its nose is pink and shaped like a pig’s snout. These tiny bats, while shorter than the Etruscan shrew, generally weigh a little more than two grams.

what is the smallest mammalBumblebee bats tend to live in groups of 100 or more in the limestone caves of Thailand. They’ve also been found in Myanmar.

Content for this question contributed by Debbie Lehman, resident of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA