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Shrews: Soricidae

Physical Characteristics

Sometimes confused with mice, the typical shrew has a long, pointy snout with sensitive whiskers, a long and thin tail, tiny eyes that are sometimes hidden under their fur, noticeable ears, and fairly short legs with five clawed toes on each foot. Most have short, brown or gray fur, and many of them have red-tinged teeth. The vast majority of shrews are no bigger than a house mouse, but a few species, like the water shrews, can top 5 inches (12.5 centimeters) in head and body length. Overall, shrews range from 1.4 to 5.3 inches (3.6 to 13.5 centimeters) in head and body length and 0.06 to 1.5 ounces (2 to 40 grams) in body weight. Tails are typically from half the length to the same length as the head and body measurement. The smallest shrew, and indeed one of the tiniest living mammals, is Savi's pygmy shrew with a body that is just 1.4 to 2.1 inches (3.6 to 5.3 centimeters) long. The tail is about half that size. The tiny shrew weighs 0.4 to 0.1 ounces (1.2 to 2.7 grams).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsShrews: Soricidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Shrews And People, Conservation Status, American Least Shrew (cryptotis Parva): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET