In the fields and country houses, sometimes there is a small rodent with a long nose, which is very similar to a mouse.
It is not easy to notice this rodent, because it is small in size and leads mainly nightlife. We are talking about a shrew.
Find out if this mouse is a pest or if it is useful for farmers.
A mouse with a long nose is also called a brown tooth. Externally, it is very similar to a vole. But unlike it, this animal has a long nose, which looks more like a proboscis. The rodent’s eyes are small and can be hidden behind a coat of hair.
The rodent’s eyes are small and can be hidden behind a coat of hair. The rodent has no sharpness of vision, so it uses sharp sniffles and excellent hearing to orient itself in space.
The body of the animal is elongated and covered with smooth dark brown fur, which does not stick to the ground. Its front legs are short and very weak. They are not designed to dig the ground. Therefore, an animal can make a tunnel or mink only in loose soil, or use the moves that made the mole or other animals.
There are more than 350 types of Shrews. The most common types of the mouse with a long nose:
Shrew ordinary. It can reach 8 cm in length, and its weight does not exceed 160 g. The body is covered with soft brown wool. The nose with the blunt tip is well visible on the head. The length of the tail of an animal is equal to the length of its torso.
Tiny shrew. It got its name due to its very small size. It weighs only 3 g and its body length is 5 cm. The animal is recognized as the smallest member of the mammal family. Its nose looks like a proboscis, and its short wool is dyed in a gray-brown shade.
The shrew is either a house shrew or a long tail shrew. This mouse can often be found in a vegetable garden or garden. In winter, it moves into cellars or cellars of private houses. The length of the body of this long-tailed mouse is about 8 cm, and the tail – up to 5 cm.
Longevity and lifestyle
Shrew mainly leads a land-based lifestyle, but some species live underground or in the hollows of old trees. The animal is active around the clock, making only small pauses for sleep. But you can see the shrew on the surface mainly in the dark because the sunlight blinds them.
Since the visual organs are poorly developed shrew, she uses her sharp sniff to find food. The animal rarely lives longer than 1.5-2 years, as it often becomes prey for birds, snakes, wild animals, or humans.
Earthquakes are found almost everywhere, except the polar regions, southern regions of Australia, South America, New Guinea. Especially many of them are found in North America, Eurasia, and Africa.
Mice with long noses live on flat terrain, in tropical forests, mountain tundra, deserts, near swamps. Some types of shrews lead a semi-aqueous life.
The animal tries to stay as far away from people as possible. Shrews settle in abandoned burrows of mole and other rodents, can live on the banks of the swamps, in the hollows of fallen trees. But with the onset of autumn, in the event of a fire, flood, or other natural disasters may move closer to people, settle in barns, cellars.
Interesting facts about shrews
Mice with long noses cause increased interest. Scientists managed to find out some interesting facts about these rodents:
- Some shrews can be poisonous. For example, the bite site of a short tooth may be swollen. In this way, there is an allergic reaction to its poison. The animal needs it to hit a prey that is larger than the shrew.
- Shrews are born completely blind, naked, and helpless, but from birth, they have a full set of teeth that are covered with strong enamel. Females use a curious method to carry their babies. One of the cub’s legs grabs the mother’s tail, the second one clings to the first tail, etc.
- The size of a mouse brain is 1/10 of its body part. This figure exceeds the ratio in humans to dolphins.
- Even though the shrew is tiny, it can be quite aggressive. It is especially manifested at the moment when someone encroaches on its territory or prey. She attacks without hesitation in such a situation, if the size of the unsuccessful guest will exceed the size of the mouse itself.
- In autumn, the animals are reduced in size, and their skull becomes flatter. In spring, the body of the animal returns to its natural parameters.
- Heartbeat shrew can reach 700 beats in 1 minute, and because of fright can rise to 1200. The beast is so frightened that it can die from a sharp sound or even the rolling of thunder.
- This mouse’s metabolism is so strong that it has to eat a day’s worth of food that is 6 times its own weight to provide energy.
Because the mouse with a long nose has an increased metabolism, the animal is in constant need of food. And the smaller the individual, the more often the shrew must eat.
Without food, it can last no longer than 5-9 hours, so the animal sleeps for a short time. If there is a lack of nutrients, the animal can fall into a daze, resulting in a decrease in body temperature.
The basis of the shrew’s diet is made up of worms, various insects, and larvae that live in the ground. Sometimes they attack small amphibians, mice, and lizards. In case of a lack of animal food, mice with a long nose can look for an alternative and eat seeds of fruit or coniferous trees.
Due to their small size, the animals are vulnerable to larger animals. The long-nosed mouse can become a victim of birds of prey, ferrets, weasels, cats, dogs, foxes. However, predators usually refuse to have a snack if they feel a peculiar aroma of the shrew.
The enemy of this mouse is also a man. People often take them as pests and destroy them. But, as practice shows, these animals are more useful. Of course, they can damage the root system of small plants, when digging the ground during the pursuit of their prey.
But at the same time, they loosen the soil perfectly, saturate it with oxygen and fight against insects, which are dangerous for crops. They manage to destroy pests in places where they are unable to reach even birds.