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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Common Shrew

A cat probably killed this shrew as it was on a lawn near a house. Sorry I forgot to put a size-comparison object beside it. It's slightly smaller than the average adult mouse. There are two other species in Britain, all three being found in Calderdale.

Pigmy Shrew is much smaller, a very small mammal.  It has long back feet. Similar colour to the Common.

Water Shrew is slightly larger, like a hefty mouse. It's blacker above, with a sharply delineated white underside. It can look grey when swimming underwater, due to bubbles trapped in its fur.

Shrews are related to the mole, and like it are eaters of small animals, never taking seeds or vegetable matter. They are very active on land and in the water. It's hard to focus on what they're doing they move so fast. They are also short lived, with multiple generations in a year.

They can be heard squeaking in hedgerows sometimes, as if fighting between themselves. This is so high-pitched, it's said some people can't hear it.

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