What is the name of a shrew

Eat or die is their motto in life

For some it would be a dream: to feast unrestrainedly during the day and to lose the excess weight that you just fed on at night in your sleep. In this case, people would have massive health problems. Not so the shrew. The tiny insect eater consumes twice its body weight every day - in order to be able to survive. The metabolism of the predator, which weighs just a few grams, works like a turbo. Again, the comparison to humans: if he weighed 70 kilos in the morning, he would only weigh 56 kilos in the evening. Twelve hours later, the difference would be evened out again.

Shrews are the purest eating machines. If they do not find food within two days, they will starve to death. The rapid metabolism is in inverse proportion to their size. These animals are also subject to an ancient law: the smaller an animal, the larger its surface area in relation to its mass and the higher the heat loss. To compensate, an almost permanent calorie intake is necessary. A shrew is therefore constantly on the lookout for prey. Zoologists have therefore called them "stomachs with teeth". The motto of your short life is inevitably having to constantly balance your energy balance day and night.

Many garden owners do not even know that shrews are at home on their property because they think the animals are mice. However, they have nothing in common with rodents. The eternally hungry come from the oldest mammal families. Their ancestors waved around the dinosaurs' legs. They survived all natural disasters. Today there are more than 200 species of shrew on earth. In Germany one can find mainly the field, wood, house and water shrews. They are quite common in places and are given away by high-pitched chirping sounds. Their enemies are predators like weasels and cats. They kill their victims, but don't eat them because shrews give off an unpleasant musky stench. If the cat brings a dead mouse into the house, you should take a closer look. It is often a shrew, recognizable by its long head and missing incisor teeth. Owls don't mind the musky smell. They devour the tiny ones with gusto. Experts can tell from the vault how many shrews and which species the owl has grabbed. If you are on holiday in Spain, southern France, Italy or Greece, with a little luck you will see the cute Etruscan shrew. It is considered to be the smallest mammal in the world. Adult animals weigh between 1.2 and two grams. The six to ten young - they are born naked and blind - then weigh just 0.3 grams each. But even a hundred-ton blue whale is anatomically based on the same criteria built up.

The need to keep the energy balance stable requires certain prerequisites. In relation to the body weight of a few grams, the heart of the shrew is twice as large as that of other animals. The pulse beats up to 1000 times per minute.

Shrews must not be picky about the uninterrupted need to eat. Their diet includes insects, woodlice, millipedes, snails and carrion. But mice can also be their victims, and in times of need they become cannibals. The dwarfs are not sociable anyway. The loners only come closer to each other during the mating season. In the small nest, the female looks after the young lovingly. Now it has to prey twice as much in order to have enough milk. In the event of danger, the mother grabs the offspring by the neck and takes them to another place, just like cats do. If the children are older, the family forms a "caravan" in case of danger. The first boy bites his mother's backside, the following siblings do it with the man in front of them.

When all the mice have formed a chain, they march off in single file. In this shrew polonaise, none of the children get lost on the way to a new hiding place.

Shrews do not know how to hibernate. Therefore, most of them die of malnutrition at this time of year because of the lack of insects. These brave and useful robbers don't get old anyway. The average age is hardly more than twelve months. But with three to four litters a year, they always make up for the losses.