Habitat: In hedgebanks and woodland with good cover. Commonly found in tall vegetation such as bracken.
Description: Upper surface greyish or reddish brown, underneath is pale grey. Ears prominent, tail has long white hairs.
Size: Head to body length 50-75mm, tail 24-44mm.
Origin and distribution: Introduced to UK by humans, originally found in southern Europe. Absent from UK mainland but found on islands such as Jersey.
Diet: Mostly arthropods especially beetles, flies, insect larvae, centipedes, earthworms and gastropods.
General Ecology: Uses the burrows of other small mammals. Often active under fallen logs and heaps of brushwood.
When disturbed or threatened can be aggressive. Tends to be more active at night.
Predators are common rats and domestic cats.
Breeding: Litter size 1-5 mean normally 3. March- September. Females reach sexual maturity at one year.
Conservation Status: Found on many large islands such as Jersey. Mammal Society’s study in 2018 estimated the population to be around 14,000 individuals. Successful eradication on islands of black rats and declining number of domestic cats in these habitats may have a positive effect on population.