Shrews, pygmy shrew, insect eaters

Scientific classification: Shrews make up the family Soricidae in the order Insectivora. Long-tailed shrews belong to the genus Sorex. Short-tailed shrews belong to the genus Blarina.


Shrew  are small mammal with a long pointed nose, the shrew is related to the mole. More than 240 species of shrews are found in deserts, grasslands, and forests in North and South America, Africa, Europe, pygmy shrew and Asia. Most shrews feed on insects, but some species use venomous salivary glands to immobilize larger prey such as fish, frogs, small mice, and newts.

Mode of life

Some species are among the smallest of mammals. Most live on the ground, although a few species are semiaquatic or arboreal. Shrews are active, nocturnal animals that feed primarily on insects and worms but also eat mice equal to their own size, as well as plants and occasionally fish and other aquatic animals. Many species have glands from which a fluid with a disagreeable odor is secreted, and some species have a poisonous saliva, pygmy shrew. Members of one subfamily of shrews hunt by means of echolocation, although this sense is relatively crude compared to its development in bats.

Diverse species

The shrew family is the largest among the insectivores (see Insectivore), and numerous species are found on all major land areas of the world except the polar regions, Australia, New Zealand, Greenland, and Tasmania. In the United States, the most common are the long-tailed shrews and the short-tailed shrews. Long-tailed shrews are slightly less than 7.5 cm (less than 3 in) long. The ears are larger than in some other shrews, and the teeth are brown at the tip. Five to seven young are produced in a litter each spring. pygmy shrew The short-tailed shrew known as the mole shrew, the most common shrew in the eastern United States, is about 11.4 cm (about 4.5 in) long. Other insectivores, such as otter shrews, belong to different families. Tree shrews and elephant shrews are not true shrews but belong to separate orders.

Greater White-toothed Shrew

The greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura russula, ranges through much of western Europe. It frequently enters human houses and other buildings, and for this it is sometimes called the house shrew. Shrews have a superficial resemblance to mice, but they are not rodents. pygmy shrew Along with their relatives the moles and hedgehogs, shrews are classified in the order of insectivores, a collection of species that resemble in many particulars the ancient creatures that evolved into the diversity of contemporary mammals, from rats to cats to bats to people to porpoises to ponies.