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Mystery Picture Answers


 Common Shrew     Common Shrew

A Common Shrew Sorex araneus with an unusual diet of peanuts!
There are three types of shrew living on mainland Britain, Common, Pygmy and Water Shrew.  All are very small, the Pygmy shrew's head and body being just 40-60mm in length.  Their small body size means that they quickly lose body heat so they have a very high metabolic rate in order to keep warm.  Living life at a fast pace means they must eat food every few hours, in fact they often eat around 125% of their body weight in food each day!  They are insectivores but also eat woodlice, slugs, snails and earthworms.  Shrews are highly territorial. When they come across a rival from another territory they produce a high pitched shriek which to a human passer-by is often the only clue to their presence amongst the ground layer of plants.  If the nest of a common shrew is disturbed, the female will often lead her young away to safety in a convoy, with each baby holding on to the tail of the one in front.  Although mammals, they are not rodents and are more closely related to moles and hedgehogs.  It is unusual for a Common Shrew to live for much longer than 12 months.


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