- Size: About 5 to 8 cm long
- Color: Gray, brown, or black
- Appearance: Pointed nose, small size
- Attraction: Presence of insects and earthworms, damp and shaded areas for shelter, gardens with abundant vegetation
- Detection Element: Rustling noise, presence in gardens
Appearance of Shrews
Shrews, small mammals often mistaken for mice, are distinguished by several unique physical characteristics. Modest in size, they typically measure between 5 and 8 cm, not including the tail, which can add up to an additional 7 cm. Their fur, a dull brown or grayish color, is fine and dense, perfect for camouflage in their natural habitat. Their head ends in a pointed and elongated snout, significantly more prominent than that of rodents, giving them remarkable olfactory acuity. The eyes and ears of shrews are relatively small, the latter often hidden in their thick fur.
Shrews are discreet inhabitants of wooded areas, meadows, and wetlands. In Canadian provinces like Montérégie and Estrie, rich in forests and watercourses, these creatures find an ideal habitat. Villages like Bromont, Cowansville, or Magog, surrounded by dense forests and wetlands, offer shrews an environment rich in insects and natural shelters. These areas, with their abundant vegetation and biodiversity, create a perfect ecosystem for shrews, allowing them to feed and reproduce away from predators.
Shrews are mainly solitary and extremely active animals. Known for their rapid metabolism, they are compelled to eat constantly, sometimes up to three times their body weight in a day. Insectivorous, they feed on a variety of insects, worms, and occasionally small mammals or amphibians. Shrews are primarily nocturnal, though they can be active during the day depending on food availability and weather conditions. They communicate with each other through a series of high-pitched cries, especially during the mating season. These small mammals are also known for their aggression when threatened, not hesitating to confront larger animals.
Distinguishing Shrews from Other Rodents
Shrews are often confused with mice, but several notable differences exist. Shrews have a much longer and pointed snout compared to the rounder one of mice. Additionally, shrews’ ears are smaller and often hidden in their fur, while mice have relatively large and visible ears. In terms of behavior, shrews are more aggressive and solitary, whereas mice are more social and less belligerent. Finally, shrews have a primarily insectivorous diet, unlike mice, which are omnivores.
Although rats and shrews may share certain habitats, they differ greatly in size and appearance. Rats are significantly larger, with a robust body and a long thick tail, while shrews are much smaller with a thinner and proportionally longer tail. The elongated snout of shrews contrasts sharply with the shorter and rounder snout of rats. Furthermore, rats are omnivores known for their adaptability, while shrews primarily focus on insects and small invertebrates.