Name: Common Shrew
Scientific name: Sorex araneus
Nature Stars: 50
About: A small insectivorous mammal, only about 7cm long (plus a tail of about 4cm). Shrews live life in the fast line, searching through the undergrowth for their prey, including earthworms, spiders and chrysalises. Common Shrews can be found in most habitats, but are most common in woodland and grassland. They can be found at any time of the day. They are very territorial and aggressive for their size, and can sometimes be heard fighting, their high pitched squeaks particularly heard during the summer. Adults may only live for one year, just long enough to have one or two litters of around 6 young.
How to identify: Shrews can be told from mice and voles by their tiny eyes, very small ears and pointy faces. Common Shrews have a proportionately longer tail than the Pygmy Shrew, and are normally dark brown on the back, slightly paler down the sides and pale grey on the belly.
Where: Widespread, found everywhere except for the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Scottish islands, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland
Fantastic fact: The Common Shrew is always hungry: it needs to eat 80-90 percent of its body weight every day!
Photograph credit: Paul Adams