Savis pygmy shrew

Suncus etruscus

TAXONOMY

Suncus etruscus (Savi, 1822), Pisa, Italy. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pygmy white-toothed shrew; French: Pachyure etrusque, musaraigne etrusque; German: Etruskerspizmaus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 1.4-2.1 in (3.6-5.3 cm); tail 0.8-1.2 in (2.1-3 cm). One of smallest mammals in the world; smallest in Europe. Grayish brown dorsal side, blackish brown or ash-gray ventral side. Ears clearly visible. Thirty completely white teeth. Individual long hairs on the tail.

DISTRIBUTION

Mediterranean to India and Sri Lanka. Includes southern Europe, northern Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Asia Minor to Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Yunnan (China).

HABITAT

Lives in old vineyards, olive groves, brushwood yards, cultivated land with low rock walls, dumps, rock piles.

BEHAVIOR

Considered solitary and intolerant of each other. Their repertoire of vocalizations, made up of chirps and buzzes are regarded as aggressive signals. However, in the laboratory, pairs and young of this species have been observed living peacefully together during breeding season.

Feeding Buzzes

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Nothing known.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

In laboratory studies the gestation for Suncus etruscus has been recorded as 27.5 days. Litter sizes of 4-6 were observed in Pakistan while smaller litters of 2-5 offspring have been recorded in captivity. Presumably monogamous when breeding.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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