Grey Shrew

Shrews in Shing Mun Country Park, Hong Kong

Considered very lucky, I spotted a Grey Shrew (Crocidura attenuata) when I was hiking in Shing Mun Country Park. The little fella was crossing the service road from one side of the woods to another, I then found her/him hiding under the foliage.

What’s a Shrew?

A shrew is a rodent/mole like mammal that is distinct on its own. They are tiny (half a palm size), with small eyes, round ears, long shout and a tail. They are carnivores and mostly prey on insects. They have a very high metabolic rate which frequent predation for food is necessary, possibly due to high surface area to volume ration in maintaining core body temperature.

Grey Shrew?

In Hong Kong, there are two types of Shrews, i.e., Musk Shrew (Suncus murinus) and Grey Shrew (Crocidura attenuata). This shrew is rather small, greyish back,  hairy on extremities and hairy trail that fits to the feature of a Grey Shrew. There might be odds, e.g. maturity and without another look from photos re. tail and limbs for justifications.

Grey Shrew - Features

Grey Shrew – Features

Grey Shrew should be abundant in Hong Kong, but nonetheless should not attempt capture, mortality rate is close to 100% due to stress and already high cardio/respiratory rate.

Classifications

Recently, there’s an update regarding Shews, they were classified as Order Insectivora, as the name described, they forge for insects for diet. However, Shews are now under Order Soricomorpha (Shew-like species) which much relevant to their genetic proximity with other species, such as moles.  Insectivora is largely disbanded for now and no species are grouped under this Order.

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Reference

Shek C. T. (2006) A Field Guide to the Terrestrial Mammals of Hong Kong, Friends of the Country Parks.