Name: Pygmy Shrew
Scientific name: Sorex minutus
Nature Stars: 50
About: A tiny insectivorous mammal, only about 5cm 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. Pygmy Shrews can be found in most habitats, but are most common in moorlands. 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. Pygmy Shrews are smaller, with a proportionately shorter tail than the Common Shrew, and are normally two-toned: dark grey-brown above and pale grey on the belly.
Where: Widespread, found everywhere except for the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Shetland and some parts of Orkney.
Fantastic fact: The Pygmy Shrew really is tiny: it weighs about the same as a 20 pence coin!
Photograph credit: Peter Redfern British Wildlife Centre