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The Shrew

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The Shrew

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:46 pm

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Shrew
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Adult

Baby

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General Information;

Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 15 cm long (largest shrew) 3.5 cm (smallest shrew)
Weight: 100 grams (largest shrew) 2 grams (smallest shrew)
Conservation status: Not applicable
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Infraclass: Eutheria, Order: Soricomorpha, Family: Soricidae
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Not applicable
Shrew Range


A shrew or shrew mouse is a small molelike mammal classified in the order Soricomorpha. True shrews are also not to be confused with West Indies shrews, treeshrews, otter shrews, or elephant shrews, which belong to different families or orders. Although its external appearance is generally that of a long-nosed mouse, a shrew is not a rodent, as mice are, and is in fact more closely related to moles. Shrews have sharp, spike-like teeth, not the familiar gnawing front incisor teeth of rodents. Shrews are distributed almost worldwide: of the major tropical and temperate land masses, only New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand do not have native shrews at all; in South America, shrews are relatively recent immigrants and are present only in the northern Andes. In terms of species diversity, the shrew family is the fourth most successful of the mammal families, being rivalled only by the muroid rodent families Muridae and Cricetidae and the bat family Vespertilionidae.
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Physical Features;
Shrews are very small mammals, in fact, two of the shrew species represent the smallest mammals on earth! Of the four families, Desert, Red-toothed, Short-tailed, and Small-eared shrews, the largest animals are represented by the Northern Short-tailed Shrew. The Northern Short-tailed Shrew can grow to about four or five inches in length not including a tail that is just over one inch in length at most. The fur of the shrew is uniformly gray and very soft. All other species of shrew are similar in appearance including a pointed snout and uniform colored fur. They all have very small eyes and ears, too. Sharp claws atop five front and rear toes help the animals climb trees.The Red-toothed Shrews have dark tips on their teeth, hence their name. This pigmentation is caused by iron deposits. Since the shrews are not technically rodents, they do not have continuously growing incisors. Scientists theorize that the iron deposits may increase the ability of the teeth to last longer.
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Mental Features;
With so many varieties of shrews there are many different types of behavior with respect to their activities. Some shrews are active day and night and some are more active in the dark. None of the varieties of shrews hibernate during the winter months. Their vision is poor and those little eyes do not do much good in showing the animals their neighborhood so they have come up with other ways to get around. Many scientists believe that shrews use echolocation to view their world. This is the same thing that bats do. Basically, the animals send out high pitched sounds, often clicking noises, into their environment. The speed at which the sound returns to the animal allows them to determine what and where objects are such as insects, plants, rocks, animals and people. Shrews have a very high metabolic rate which includes and very fast heart beat. Some shrews have had their heartbeats measured at 1200 beats per minute! To maintain themselves they must eat their weight in food every day. This is accomplished by eating every few minutes. With a heart beating so fast the animals are easily startled and with deadly consequences. They have been known to die of fright after a loud burst of thunder.
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Diet;
Shrew diet is very much dependent upon supply. The shrew has a very large pallet of foods they will eat including insects, small mammals and plant material. They are well known for their voracious eating habits which often lead the animal to eat nearly three times their weight each day! With that kind of appetite it is not difficult to see how a large population of shrews could cause problems for the backyard gardener. While the shrew diet consists of most anything edible out of doors, they do favor insects over anything else. Some of their top picks are beetles, crickets and grasshoppers. They will also eat smaller insects including centipedes and millipedes and smaller wasps. Butterfly and moth larvae are considered tasty little morsels, as are the more meaty snails, slugs and worms. Not all species of shrew eat plant materials but those who do, including the Northern Short-tailed Shrews, partake in berries, seeds, nuts and roots. Small mammals, amphibians and birds are also taken including those larger than the shrew itself. This can be snakes, frogs, salamanders, mice, and even other shrews.
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Threats towards this animal;
The threats towards this animal excluding wolves are:

Owls, foxes, weasels, hawks, magpies, jackdaws, stoats, cats, and snakes.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosendahl/3748117057/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/filthyram/359001996/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrew
http://www.outwitcritters.com/shrew/index.html
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