Common Shrew
(Sorex araneus) #64-25

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Common Shrew Sorex araneus

Head and body length of S. araneus is 5-8cm with tail lengths of 2.5-4.5cm. Weights range from 5-14g. It has short legs, a pointed flexible snout with long whiskers, glossy dark brown to black fur on the back with paler brown fur on the flanks and a gray-white underside.

S. araneus is one of the smallest known mammals and must consume 80-90 percent of its body weight every 24 hours. It hunts in up to 10 small burst of activity during this time period, eating insects, worms and carrion.

S. araneus is solitary with the exception of the brief mating season. Gestation is 24-25 days, and generally 6-7 young are born into a litter. Special breeding nests are constructed which are made from woven grasses and dry leaves. These nest are larger than those used by S. araneus during the rest of the year which are found logs, roots, rocks, or in an old burrow.

Distribution is in C, E, and N Europe including the British Isls (with some isolated populations in France, Italy and Spain), east to Siberia.

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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