Feeding ecology and diet

The diet is predominantly insects and other invertebrates such as earthworms, which the shrew opossums find by rummaging in the surface litter and investigating likely nooks and crannies along their regular runways. Like placental shrews, they hunt mainly by smell; they also have sharp hearing, but their eyesight is relatively poor. Various species have also been reported feeding opportunistically on fruit, scavenging the flesh of dead animals, and killing and eating the young of other mammals such as rats found in nests.

No torpid or hibernating specimens have been recorded, but there is good evidence that shrew opossums can become torpid in times of food shortage. The Chilean shrew opossum builds up reserves of fat in its tail in late summer, which help it survive the cold Andean winter.

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