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Description of Shrew

´╗┐Shrews are usually very small; the Savi'spygmy shrew is probably the smallest known mammal on earth, less than 1.5 inches long and weighing 0.07 ounces. The shrewfamily, Soricidae, is the largest family of the order Insectivora, and shrews inhabit all major land masses except polar regions, Australia, New Zealand, and Greenland. Shrews are useful to gardeners because they eat many insects. They also inhabit fields, marshes, and woodlands. Some shrews are semiaquatic. Shrews are often mistaken for mice because of their small size and vaguely similar bodies. Their habits and bodies are actually more like those of moles. Shrews have long, mobile snouts, tiny ears and eyes, and bodies covered with short, thick hair colored gray, brown, or black. Smaller shrews are under two inches long, while the largest are one foot long. They eat insects, worms, small fish, and plants. Weasels, foxes and owls eat shrews. However, the shrew's unpleasant odor and taste protects it from excessive predation.

Physical Characteristics of Shrews

Shrews have sharp teeth and are both vicious and ferocious. When attacked or disturbed, they fight wildly. They live alone, stake out territories, and hold them against invaders. As added protection, some shrews have venomous saliva, which they use to poison prey. Shrews also have whiskers that aid detection of prey at night. Shrews live in gardens, forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Most dig burrows, though some species do not burrow and others are semiaquatic. The largest shrew is an elephant shrew, also called the golden-rumped shrew. These "giant" shrews have maximum body lengths of one foot, tails ten inches long, and weigh one pound. Elephant shrews are so named for their long snouts. Their tails are like rat tails and their hind legs are designed for hopping.Asmall elephant shrew, the short-eared shrew, has maximum body length of four inches, a tail of five inches, and a weight of 1.5 ounces. Elephant shrews inhabit South Africa and eat insects, snails, and plant roots, fruits, and seeds. Shrews forage day and night and must eat every two to three hours to survive. This great need for food leads shrews to eat anything available. Depending on habitat and species, they eat insects, worms, carrion, seeds, nuts, plants, shellfish, frogs, and fish. Shrews hear and smell well. This helps them find prey and avoid predators. Some creatures kill shrews, but most will not eat them because they smell and taste bad. The smell and taste is due to secretions from skin glands most plentiful at knee and elbow.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

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