Fun Etruscan Shrew Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jan 07, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Interesting Etruscan shrew facts.

Etruscan shrews are small mole-like creatures that are one of the most voracious animals known that devour a great deal of food. It is characterized by having a faster metabolism which in turn gives the shrew ability to eat about twice its own body weight per day.

There is so much more that you should know about this tiny animal, so why don't you scroll down a bit more to find out! Do check out our articles on water vole facts and field vole as well before you leave!

Etruscan Shrew Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Etruscan shrew?

The Etruscan shrew is one of the smallest known mammals that looks a lot like rodents or mice.

What class of animal does an Etruscan shrew belong to?

Etruscan shrew belongs to the class of Mammalia, similar to animals like dolphins and humans.

How many Etruscan shrews are there in the world?

Although the exact count of Etruscan shrews is unknown, the count of shrews is about 100 billion in the world!

Where does an Etruscan shrew live?

The Etruscan shrew is mainly found in habitats such as shrubs, forests, and grasslands. In Europe particularly, it is found in the Mediterranean lowlands, whereas in Asia, the Etruscan shrew is found in the belt extending between 10 degrees North and 30 degrees North.

What is an Etruscan shrew's habitat?

The Etruscan shrew prefers warm and damp habitats covered with shrubs which is helpful for the shrew to hide from predators. The Etruscan shrew usually inhabits open terrains where grasslands and scrub meet deciduous forests.

These areas can be found at sea level, but the shrews are often found confined to foothills of mountain ranges ranging up to 9800 ft (3000m) above sea level.

You can often find them running in abandoned gardens, vineyards, orchards, and olive groves. However, the places that the Etruscan shrew avoids are intensively cultivated areas, sand dunes, and dense forests.

Who do Etruscan shrews live with?

Etruscan shrews are solitary animals who like living alone. Their mating system is the only way the shrews get to meet each other.

How long does an Etruscan shrew live?

The Etruscan shrew typically lives for about two years, although with considerable uncertainty.

How do they reproduce?

These shrew species primarily mate from March to October, although the female shrew could be pregnant at any time of the year. The shrew pairs are usually formed in the spring, and it's only for some time that the adult shrews stay with their young shrew.

The female shrew later relocates from the nest. Overall their gestation period lasts for 27-28 days, and they have up to six cubs per litter.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Etruscan shrew, Suncus etruscus, is of Least Concern according to the IUCN. Their population may be affected by various human activities like deforestation and climate change.

Etruscan Shrew Fun Facts

What do Etruscan shrews look like?

Etruscan Shrew

Being a small animal, it has slender body features with a relatively large head and hind limbs. Their ears are protuberant and large. These shrews also have a fast heart beating rate along with a relatively large heart muscle mass. Their fur color is pale brown on the back and light gray on the stomach.

How do they communicate?

The Etruscan shrew has various ways to communicate; when they defend their territories, the shrew makes chirping noises and becomes aggressive towards intruders. When the Etruscan shrew, Suncus etruscus, are in torpor, and if suddenly awakened, it starts with its harsh shrieking sounds; in fact, the Suncus etruscus makes such noise only when it's unable to flee those areas.

How big is an Etruscan shrew?

We bet you didn't know this, but the Suncus etruscus, aka the Etruscan shrew, is one of the most miniature animals in the mammal category living today! With most of the adults only 1.18 - 2.04 in (3-5.2 cm) long.

How fast can an Etruscan shrew run?

The exact rate at which Etruscan shrew, Suncus etruscus, runs is not known. However, these shrew individuals are known to have recorded making twelve body movements per second, respiratory rate rising from 50 bpm to 600–800 bpm. Moreover, this shrew species has a higher heart rate than the hummingbird as well.

How much does an Etruscan shrew weigh?

These species resembling rodents, also known as the white-toothed pygmy shrew, weigh in the range of 0.002 - 0.005 lb (1.3 – 2.5 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

They have no sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby Etruscan shrew?

Baby white-toothed pygmy shrews are just known as young shrews but did you know that the baby Etruscan shrews are born naked and blind. However, although born naked and blind, these tiny shrews get ready to live their independent lives within nine months.

What do they eat?

They eat most insects from the animal kingdom, such as ants, crickets, and mealworms. In fact, the way the Etruscan pygmy shrew eats these insects is through its legs, so the smaller the size of food, the easier it is for it to eat.

They also eat plants like shrubs in damp areas. These small animals are constantly searching to find food throughout their lives to meet their high energy consumption demands.

Are they dangerous?

While the pygmy shrew may turn out to be fatal for an insect's or animal's body. As for us humans, you have got nothing to worry about as the shrew venom is not dangerous to humans.

However, Etruscan pygmy shrew bites may result in swelling, pain, and body temperature. If you do get bitten by the Etruscan pygmy shrew, then as with any type of wildlife bite, seek medical help to prevent any further infection or disease.

Would they make a good pet?

This would seem like a tough choice, as having shrews as pets would mean catering to their specific needs and behavior. This would necessarily mean that the Etruscan shrew might not be a good pet as, firstly, these animals usually live in their hiding place that is primarily underground and nocturnal.

Secondly, it may be cumbersome to arrange for their food as their diet mainly consists of insects.

Did you know...

Shrews are good for gardens as they don't damage plants and even travel along existing mole and vole tunnels.

Shrews being smaller than cats, they pretty sure will not kill a cat!

These species, often found in Europe and North Africa, are very smart! Their brain weighs 10% of their total body weight.

How did Etruscan shrews get their name?

Shrew, does this word make you curious? How come these animals found in Europe and North Africa came to have the name that they have.

The story of their naming goes back to old English times, where shrews were superstitiously feared to have a venomous bite which contradicts as they aren't poisonous creatures. Therefore these small animals were called shrews, synonymous with being evil people.

What is unique about Etruscan shrews?

A unique aspect of Etruscan shrews is their skull size that's the smallest among mammals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including rice rat facts and gopher facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable Etruscan shrew coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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