Medium brown/grey fur on top and dirty white underneath. Long pointed snout with small ears and very small eyes. Tiny size of 4-6cm and a tail length of 3-4cm, smaller than the common shrew. Tail length 70% of head and body length.
Throughout the British Isles. (Maps are based on expert advice, as of 2007. Some species ranges may have changed in the time since. We are currently in the process of updating them.)
Includes a range of insects, including spiders, harvestmen, beetles and woodlice. Earthworms rarely taken but small slugs and snails occasionally eaten, along with small amounts of plant material.
Peak mortality is at 2-4 months. Maximum lifespan is around 13 months.
Common Shrew (Sorex araneus)
Larger size than pygmy shrew. Tri-coloured coat; dark back, paler sides and even paler underside, as opposed to two-tone coat of pygmy. If you get a closer look: tail proportionately shorter than pygmy and less domed head.
Water shrew (Neomys fodiens)
Much larger than pygmy shrew. Black fur on top with very pale (often white) underside in adults, compared to brown fur of pygmy shrew. Often with small white patches on ears, which pygmy does not have. If you get a closer look: prominent keel of stiff, silvery hair on underside of tail, in contrast to generally hairier tail of pygmy. Head of water shrew much less domed than pygmy.