Thursday, November 22, 2012


This tiny creature, no bigger than a common garden snail, is an Etruscan shrew, and, at 1.8 grams, the world's smallest terrestrial mammal. For all I know it's the smallest mammal on land, in the sea, or in the air, although the bumblebee bat has a smaller skull.

This is also the world's smallest predator, for these voracious little hunters are omnivores, and besides maintaining a regular diet of seeds, insects, nuts, and worms, are known to kill and devour mice larger than themselves, as well as small lizards and scorpions.

The shrews of Tuscany run hot, with higher metabolism than other creatures of similar size, and must eat more than their weight each day to stay alive. That means that anything close to its own size is fair game for this miniscule but mighty hunter.

No comments: