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Etruscan Shrew Facts and Information

General Knowledge | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

What is an Etruscan Shrew?

The Etruscan shrew is the smallest mammal known by its body mass. It lives in the forests of Southern Asia and Southern Europe. It is also known as the etruscan pygmy shrew or the white – toothed pygmy shrew. It’s biological name is Suncus etruscus.

The smallest living mammal

The smallest mammal known by its size on the other hand, is the bumble bee bat, inhabitant of Thailand and Myanmar.

What does the Etruscan Shrew look like?

Being the smallest mammal, its average body weight is about 1.8 grams(0.063 oz) and it measures about 4 cms(1.6 inches), excluding the tail. The head is relatively large with a long, mobile proboscis and its hind legs are comparatively small.

Animal with the fastest heart rate

Because of their small size, the Etruscan shrew has a very high metabolic rate and the heart beats at very high rates per second. The heart is relatively large and is 1.2% of their body mass and beats at 1511 beats per minute. The shrews eat almost two times their weight in a day and eat every two hours or they will starve. They do not hibernate and because of this high metabolic rate, the shrews do not sleep and seldom rest for more than a few seconds.

What is a typical Etruscan Shrew’s life like?

  • The Etruscan shrew are insectivores. Although they prey on insects, they are themselves pryed on by birds like buzzards, owls cats and other small predators.
  • The largest threat to shrews however comes from humans to their nesting grounds and living habitats, as a result of farming and agricultural practices.

3 Amazing facts about the Etruscan Shrew

  1. Etruscan shrews generally live alone and can be very territorial, except during mating seasons.
  2. Etruscan shrews are known as short – range, high speed hunters. In darkness, they can detect, overwhelm, and kill their fast moving insect prey, which can be almost their size.
  3. They have a life span of one and half years.
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