ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Etruscan shrew, contender for the title of smallest mammal in the world

Updated on February 9, 2012

The Bumblebee Bat is the animal most commonly given the title as the smallest mammal on Earth based on skull size and length. However, the Etruscan pygmy shrew, otherwise known as the white-toothed pygmy shrew, is the smallest mammal by mass. This tiny member of the Soricidae family weighs an average of only around 1.8 grams, while the Bumblebee Bat tops out at an average of 2 grams. The Etruscan shrew is longer than the Bumblebee Bat, growing to an average of 1.6 inches long not including their mouse like tails. These tiny mammals have large heads with protruding mobile snouts. Their fur is usually light grey on the stomach and a pale brown over the back and sides.

The Etruscan shrew, like other shrews, have a very fast metabolism and must eat about 2 times their own body weight a day to stay alive. Their large heats beat an average of 25 beats per second. In part due to their fast heart rate and metabolism, Etruscan shrews are estimated to live an average of only 2 years. They move around very rapidly, and are known to hibernate temporarily during times of cold or food shortage. These tiny shrews use their short whiskers to search out their prey, which normally consists of small insects.

The white-toothed pygmy shrew can be found in Malaysia, North Africa, and Europe. They prefer warm damp climates and normally live solitary lives. In many of their natural habitats these shrews are rare and in some places are considered endangered. Human interaction, mostly consisting of habitat distruction, is the highest contributor to the Etruscan shrew's decline. They are most active at dawn, and make chirping sounds to protect their territories. Etruscan shrews breed year round and produce a litter of between 2 to 6 babies up to once every 28 days. Baby shrews become sexually mature when they are only about 4 weeks old.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Dragonrain profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you both for reading! :)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is a very interesting hub, and I really enjoyed the information. Thank you!

    • agreenworld profile image

      Dawn A. Harden 

      8 years ago from CT-USA

      Possible 2-6 babies once every 28 days! Out of something that small! Wow. Fascinating. Voted up and thanks.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)