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Shrews are very small and very aggressive mammals. These tiny animals live in almost every type of habitat. There are about 200 species of shrews that inhabit Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and northern South America.

Shrews are related to moles; they are not rodents. Shrews are good burrowers and swimmers. Many shrews are nocturnal (most active at night).

Anatomy: The North American Pygmy Shrew may be the smallest mammal in the world. It weighs just 1.2-2.7 grams. Its body is about the size of a person's thumbnail. (Some people consider the bumblebee bat to be the smallest; it weighs about 2 grams.) The biggest shrews are about 1 foot (30 cm) long.

Shrews have short, dense fur, clawed feet, a long snout, sharp teeth, and big ears. They have good hearing and also use echolocation (similar to the way bats and dolphins hear).

Diet: Shrew are carnivores (meat-eaters). They need to eat their own weight in food every day! These ferocious mammals will attack and kill animals that are bigger than they are. They eat insects, worms, snails, slugs, and other small animals (including other shrews). Several species of shrews (including the Short-tailed shrew) are venomous and have a poisonous bite.



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