A common shrew sits on a moss covered log

Common shrew

Common shrews are one of Britain's and northern Europe's most abundant small mammals. With an insatiable appetite for insects and worms, these tiny terrors can devour up to their own body weight in a single day. All this eating should wear down their teeth, however, iron in the enamel not only turns them red but adds resistance. Common shrews are a staple of many an owl's diet. When disturbed from the nest, young shrews sometimes follow their mother in caravan fashion, using their flexible snouts to hold on to the tail of the sibling in front.

Scientific name: Sorex araneus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Eurasian shrew

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Map showing the distribution of the Common shrew taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Common shrew can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Common shrew distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Stable

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1