Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Insectivores: Insectivora - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, INSECTIVORES AND PEOPLE

Insectivores: Insectivora - Physical Characteristics

mammals largest snouts centimeters

Insectivora is the third largest order of mammals after the rodents and bats. Most of the insectivores are smaller than a child's hand, and shrews are some of the smallest mammals known. A few, however, reach a foot long (30 centimeters) or more. The largest insectivore is the moonrat, which stretches 24 inches (60 centimeters) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail.

A typical insectivore is covered with smooth fur, although some, like the hedgehogs, have spines. They usually have five clawed fingers or toes at the end of each of its four, short legs, but the tenrecs and golden moles have only four claws. Their skulls are small, long, and flat, however the furry coat may make the head appear larger. They also have tiny, often unnoticeable ears and eyes. Insectivores have an excellent sense of smell that is assisted by their snouts, which may be long and flexible, or short and stout. Many insectivores have rows of stiff sensory hairs, called vibrissae (vuh-BRIS-ee), on their snouts, tails, ears, and sometimes feet. Beyond this general description, these animals vary widely.

Insectivores: Insectivora - Habitat [next]

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