Belongs to: insectivores

Compare with: common shrew

Pygmy shrew Sorex minutus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Our smallest shrew, weighing just a few grams

Habitat: any area with enough ground cover

Widespread across Britain and northern and central Europe


Greyish-brown on the back and greyish-white below, with a long pointed nose; body up to 6 cm and tail almost as long

Very active with a high metabolism, living in dense vegetation and therefore difficult to see

Feed mainly on insects, woodlice and spiders, eating up to 125% of their body weight daily


Well-made nest of grasses, usually underground

Two or three litters per year of 5–7 young

Very short-lived – peak mortality is at 2–4 months and they rarely live more than a year

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