Shrew easy to confuse with a mouse : the same fur color, long tail.
The only difference is in the shape of the muzzle: in the shrew, it ends with an elongated proboscis (thanks to which it got its name).
Yes, and these animals have no kinship with the mouse, since mice belong to rodents, while shrews are insectivorous mammals.
These are some of the smallest predators on the planet. Due to their aggressive nature, they received the nickname "little devils". The family of shrews has about 300 species, which in turn are combined into 2 subfamilies: shrews (with white teeth) and shrews (with dark colored teeth).
The main species are: the tiny shrew, the pygmy shrew, the water cooler (it lives mainly on the shores of Russian water bodies), the giant shrew (read more about the amazing species of shrews here). These tiny animals are widespread almost all over the globe, they are not afraid of either heat or cold. Answer the question: Where does the shrew live? very simple - everywhere.
They can be found: in South America, Colombia, USA, Russia... The only exceptions are the polar regions (representatives of this family can be found extremely rarely there) and Australia.
About 20 species of shrews live on the territory of Russia. Most often, the shrew is found (about who the shrew is and what its features are, find out here). The shrew is a very small animal, the body length, depending on the species, ranges from 3 to 18 cm.
The fur of her fur coat is thick and short brown, her teeth are sharp, her muzzle is elongated, at the end there is a mobile proboscis, which she actively uses to search for food, loosening and digging the ground, on the sides of the body there are special glands that secrete pungent musky odorscaring off enemies.
Shrews have a well-developed sense of touch and smell, but their vision is rather weak. They do not hibernate, they are active all year round, in the warm season they swarm in the foliage in search of food, in winter they run under the snow cover. Reproduce 1-2 times a year, in each brood there are from 1 to 10 babies. The most active breeding season is spring - summer. Life expectancy is 18 months.
Where is it found?
Where does the shrew live? This animal is unambiguously terrestrial (even water shrews settle in burrows on the banks of reservoirs, preferring land to water). Usually, forests with dense vegetation and gardens are chosen for the place of settlement, as they love to sleep on a soft bedding from last year's foliage.
Burrows do not dig deep, but they rarely do it themselves, preferring to occupy someone else's house, abandoned by the owner. The animals are especially fond of rotten trees, where you can find a cozy crevice or hollow. It is almost impossible to see them during the day, they emerge from their hiding places only at night.
Each shrew has clear boundaries of habitat (the area in which she hunts) The boundaries of the lots often touch each other, but do not overlap. You cannot violate them. Food plays an important role for these animals, and she does not intend to share hunting grounds.
If, nevertheless, another shrew dares to invade someone else's possessions, a fight awaits her, as a result of which one of the animals may die. Shrews are very brave and are ready to fight for their prey not only with their relatives, but also with lizards and mice.
They treat their territory with care. Eating insects in a small area of it, they move on to another, leaving the previous one for several days to replenish food reserves on it.
Shrews have an active digestive process. That is why she is in search of food. almost around the clock with short rest breaks... Their day is divided not for night and day, but for hunting and sleeping.
Different species of individuals have their own days: some are divided into 10 intervals, others by 78, that is, 78 times the animal goes to bed and gets up to get food.
You can see a live shrew in this video:
Shrews incredibly voracious creatures... In order to maintain the required body temperature (they are warm-blooded), as well as to replenish the necessary supply of energy (shrews are very mobile), the process of digestion with a constant release of heat must occur constantly, therefore they eat a huge amount of food... Sometimes the amount of food eaten per day exceeds their own weight.
ATTENTION! The animals can live a little without food, in summer only 8-10 hours, in winter the shrew dies without eating for more than three hours.
Shrew, what does this animal eat? The diet depends on the season:
- in the warm season, the main food is various insects: bears, worms, slugs, caterpillars, wood lice... If the shrew is very hungry, a predator wakes up in it, in which case it can attack small rodents (mice). Aquatic individuals feed on small fish and frogs;
- it is very difficult in winter. The animals hardly break the soil under the snow to get to the insects, do not disdain plant seeds... Winter is a hungry time, so few of them live to see the warmth.
Benefit and harm
Shrews are of great benefit to humans.
Thanks to their unique trunk-nose, they loosen the soil in orchards and vegetable gardens.
They saturate it with oxygen along the way, destroying various harmful insects and larvae.
And yet, the minks of animals may not please those who love beautiful lawns.
REFERENCE! Shrews are capable of destroying a large number of harmful insects even in hard-to-reach places for other insectivores and birds: under stones, under snow, in the depths of burrows.
Although shrews are useful to the garden, sometimes you have to fight them. Read about how to destroy shrews in your garden or summer cottage here.
The shrews look cute and fluffy, quite harmless to humans, but their bite can be quite painful, therefore do not try to catch these animals and take them in your hands.