Eurasian pygmy shrew

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Eurasian pygmy shrew[1]
Sorex minutus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Eulipotyphla
Family: Soricidae
Genus: Sorex
S. minutus
Binomial name
Sorex minutus
Linnaeus, 1766
Eurasian Pygmy Shrew area.png
Eurasian pygmy shrew range

The Eurasian pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), often known simply as the pygmy shrew, is a widespread shrew of northern Eurasia. It is the only shrew native to Ireland.[3]

Active throughout the day and night, the Eurasian pygmy shrew lives in undergrowth and leaf litter and lives off small insects and invertebrates.[4] It has an average weight of 4 grams[3] and has one of the highest metabolic rates of any animal, meaning it must eat at regular intervals — every two hours or so.[5][6]

The breeding season lasts from April through to August. Females usually produce between two and eight young per litter and care for the young in an underground nest. Since the gestation period is just over three weeks, they can have up to five litters in one year, though the life span of a pygmy shrew is a little over 15 months.[4]

In April 2008, the greater white-toothed shrew was discovered in Ireland.[7] While the introduction of the species will possibly sustain threatened birds of prey, such as the barn owl, the nonnative mammal could threaten some of the smaller native species, such as the Eurasian pygmy shrew.[7]

Common and Eurasian pygmy shrews (genus Sorex), size comparison


  1. ^ Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Insectivore Specialist Group (1996). "Sorex minutus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2006-05-12.Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ a b "Irish mammals — the Pygmy Shrew". Retrieved 2007-12-27.
  4. ^ a b "UK safari on Pygmy shrews". Retrieved 2007-12-27.
  5. ^ " — Sorex minutus". Retrieved 2007-12-27.
  6. ^ Burton, Robert; Burton, Maurice (1970). The international wildlife encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 2358–2359. ISBN 0-7614-7266-5. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b "For Good Or Ill, Ireland Gains Another Mammal Species". Science Daily. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2008-05-07.

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