shrew

(redirected from Shrews)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Shrews: Soricidae

shrew,

common name for the small, insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae, related to the molesmole,
in zoology, common name for the small, burrowing, insectivorous mammals of the family Talpidae, found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Moles are trapped as pests, although they probably do less damage than the animals they destroy, and for their fur, which is
..... Click the link for more information.
. Shrews include the smallest mammals; the smallest shrews are under 2 in. (5.1 cm) long, excluding the tail, and the largest are about 6 in. (15 cm) long. Light-boned and fragile, shrews have mouselike bodies and long, pointed snouts with tiny, sharp teeth. They are terrestrial and nocturnal, mostly living under vegetation; some occupy the burrows of other small animals. Their musky odor, produced by a pair of glands on their flanks, deters some of their potential predators.

Extremely active and nervous, they have a higher metabolic rate than any other animal. The heart of the masked shrew, Sorex cinereus, beats 800 times a minute, considerably faster than that of the hummingbird. Shrews must eat incessantly in order to stay alive; most will starve to death if deprived of food for half a day. They eat anything available, but prefer small animals; they are economically important as destroyers of insects and slugs that harm crops.

Shrews are easily startled and will jump, faint, or drop dead at a sudden noise. They are vicious fighters, killing and eating larger animals, such as mice, as well as other shrews. A belief that the shrew's bite is poisonous was dismissed for years as a folk tale, but has since been substantiated; the saliva of at least one species of shrew is lethal to mice and can cause considerable pain to humans. Shrews live about 15 months and reproduce rapidly, bearing up to four litters a year, with up to eight young in a litter.

Shrews are found in Europe, Asia, North and Central America, and N South America. There are more than 350 species, all rather similar, classified in about 30 genera. The subfamily of red-toothed shrews, with orange- or red-tipped teeth, includes both Old and New World species; the white-toothed shrews are confined to the Old World. A third subfamily, sometimes called African shrews, is found exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa.

The common shrews of the Northern Hemisphere belong to the red-toothed genus Sorex, with many species in North America and a few in Europe and Asia. The water shrew of Canada and N United States, Sorex palustris, is adapted to aquatic living and can actually walk on the surface of water for a short distance. There are other aquatic shrews, of several genera, in Europe and Asia.

The giant water shrew of Africa is not a true shrew but an insectivore related to the tenrectenrec
, any of the small insectivorous mammals of the family Tenrecidae, also called tendrecs or tanrecs. These animals are found on the island of Madagascar. In that closed environment they have evolved diverse forms, filling various ecological niches occupied by other small
..... Click the link for more information.
. The elephant, or jumping, shrews of Africa are insectivores of the family Macroscelididae; they resemble miniature kangaroos with trunks. The Oriental tree shrew is an insectivorelike primateprimate,
member of the mammalian order Primates, which includes humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians, or lower primates. The group can be traced to the late Cretaceous period, where members were forest dwellers.
..... Click the link for more information.
. True shrews are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Soricomorpha, family Soricidae.

shrew

[shrü]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of more than 250 species of insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae; individuals are small with a moderately long tail, minute eyes, a sharp-pointed snout, and small ears.

shrew

any small mouse-like long-snouted mammal, such as Sorex araneus (common shrew), of the family Soricidae: order Insectivora (insectivores)
References in periodicals archive ?
Erbyn y bedwaredd ganrif ar ddeg, dim ond merched elwid yn shrew, ac mae o wedi glynu.
During initial adaptation, tree shrews were put in the water with their head facing the pool wall, and they were guided to the underwater platform.
Lewis had already pulled off another point blank shot to keep out Jones before Shrews boss Micky Mellon changed his entire starting line-up on the hour.
Shrews soon took a firm grip and went close as Jermaine Grandison's shot was deflected for a corner by Cole Kpekawa, before Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro set up Cameron Gayle, whose angled drive brought a smart save out of Paul Jones.
Kits for shrews were not commercially available in China, so we were unable to test the sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA for detecting SFTSV in serum from shrews.
The connection comes from DNA analyses that place elephant shrews in the Afrotheria group with real elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and some other African mammals.
Shrews typically live for only just over a year and the most likely time to come across one is as a sad little scrap of inanimate velvet lying dead by the side of a path.
A new species of the hero shrew has been identified by scientists.
The anterior teeth (incisors and antemolars) are highly specialized in shrews (Dannelid 1998), but the molars are quite uniform in the Soricidae.
The Shrews, though, were a whisker away from taking the lead in the 44th minute when fullback Connor Goldson let fly from 25 yards, only for the ball to bend the wrong side of the upright.
I focus on Long-tailed Shrews (genus Sorex), part of the resident terrestrial fauna in Alaska, to report an incidence of remarkably high sympatric diversity and discuss implications for future community change based on genetic evidence.
Fellow Gulls striker Jake Robinson (inset) is on loan from the Shrews, but is cleared to play.