Common Shrew

Scientific Name: 

Sorex araneus

Synonyms: 

Ranny

Description

Silky brown fur, a grey underside and a long narrow nose are probably the most distinguishing features of the common shrew.

Weight: 

5-15g

Lifespan: 

Up to 2 years

Distribution: 

Found throughout much of the British Isles, the common shrew only fails to make an appearance in the Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Man and some of the northern Isles.

Habitat: 

Often found in areas of dense vegetation including long grass, hedgerows and riverbanks, but also wooded areas and farmland.

Reproduction: 

Mating between Spring and the end of Summer, common shrews are pregnant for just 3-4 weeks before usually giving birth to approximately 6-7 young. Depending on the right weather conditions and a plentiful supply of food, they can repeat this process up to four times a year. The newborn shrews are both hairless and blind, but they develop quickly and are often fully independent with three weeks. However, as many as 50% of the new litter are unlikely to survive beyond two months.

Predators: 

The common shrews main predators include foxes, owls, stoats and weasels, but many also fall victim to the domestic cat.

Status: 

As their name suggests, common shrews are relatively common.

Footprint Description: 

Very rare to find in the field due to the animals diminutive size. 4 interdigital pads on each foot, and 6 palm pads. If animals are travelling at speed not all interdigital pads will be visible, sometimes only two being seen. Outside "toes" are always opposite each other, and protrude approx. 90 degrees out to the side of the track.

Droppings Description: 

Droppings are tiny in size - up to 0.8cm long with a diameter of approx. 0.2cm. Dark in colour regardless of age. Contain insect remains. Individual species cannot be determined from droppings, although the differences between Shrew and Mouse droppings can be determined via examination of food remains present.

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Species: 

S. araneus

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