Page 34

Common Shrew

(Sorex araneus)

Size: 6-8cm – 4cm tail Weight: 5-15g Lifespan: max. 18 months


Identification: With no visible ears and very small eyes they have a long whiskered snout. The dorsal fur is usually brown although almost black forms exist. The belly is pale and the flanks buff coloured. About 10% of the population has white ear tufts similar to water shrews though the major confusion species is pygmy shrew. General: A native species, very common in both the countryside and urban areas, they utilise many habitats from woodlands, grassland to moorland and marshland. Mating takes place in the late spring / summer - young are weaned after 25 days and can sometimes be seen closely following their mother. They are usually solitary and aggressively defend their territory, feeding mostly on insects, slugs and worms etc., but will take seeds and fruits as well as carrion. They are mainly nocturnal, but due to their high metabolism they need to feed frequently so will forage during the day usually under cover. Their audible squeaks are usually mistaken for mice. Common shrews have many predators and their life Droppings expectancy is short. Distribution - UK: There are estimated to be approx. 40 million common shrews distributed widely throughout the UK in all parts except for some Scottish islands. The population is stable.



Cambridgeshire Mammal Atlas  
Cambridgeshire Mammal Atlas