Shrew interesting facts are as plentiful as they are entertaining. Please read on to learn more about the shrew.
- Short-tailed shrews are so close in physical appearance the only way to tell them apart, aside from their range, is by chromosome count!
- Shrews lose their baby teeth early in life just like humans
- North America’s pygmy shrew is the second smallest mammal in the world!
- Old English folklore says that if a shrew ran across a farm animal that was lying on the ground the animal be caused intense pain. To stop the pain a shrew would be chased up an ash tree and a twig from the tree would be taken and brushed on the farm animal to get rid of the pain.
- Ancient Egyptians believe that the shrew was the spirit of darkness.
- Shrews have also been thought of as a beast god that would protect stored grains from rats and mice.
- Shrew comes from the Middle English word “shrewe” which translates to mean an evil or scolding person.
- There are over 300 difference species of shrews in the world.
- Shrews live on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
- There are some species of shrew that live in water habitats.
- There are some mammals with “shrew” in their name that are not actually shrews. These include Elephant shrews and porcupine shrews.
- Shrews have extremely fast heart beat that averages 700 beats per minute. With a heart beating so fast the animals are easily startled, and with deadly consequences. Shrews have been known to die of fright after a loud burst of thunder.
- The Short-tailed Shrews have an interesting trait not seen in many mammals: a poisonous bite! It has been determined that they have glands in their teeth that secrete a poison toxic to smaller mammals such as mice and other shrews which renders them paralyzed and helpless. This is what allows these animals to prey on mammals larger than themselves.
- Shrews excrete a musky smell from scent glands located on the belly and sides. The smell is so foul that while shrews are often killed, they are rarely eaten.
From the many folk tales and Egyptian lore, to the fact that that the shrew often dies from fright there are many shrew interesting facts.