Shrews are very small mammals, in fact, two (2) of the shrew species represent the smallest mammals on earth! Of the four (4) families, Desert, Red-toothed, Short-tailed, and Small-eared shrews, the largest animals are represented by the Northern Short-tailed Shrew. The Northern Short-tailed Shrew can grow to about four (4) or five (5) inches in length not including a tail that is just over one (1) inch in length at most. The fur of the shrew is uniformly gray and very soft.
All other species of shrew are similar in appearance including a pointed snout and uniform colored fur. They all have very small eyes and ears, too. Sharp claws atop five (5) front and rear toes help the animals climb trees.
The Red-toothed Shrews have dark tips on their teeth, hence their name. This pigmentation is caused by iron deposits. Since the shrews are not technically rodents, they do not have continuously growing incisors. Scientists theorize that the iron deposits may increase the ability of the teeth to last longer.