The Eurasian pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus ), often known simply as the pygmy shrew, is a widespread shrew of the northern Palearctic.
The Eurasian pygmy shrew is a small mole-like mammal widespread in northern Eurasia. It has a pointed muzzle and gray-brown fur, which becomes paler on the underside. The tail is hairy and relatively long. The Eurasian pygmy shrew has one of the highest metabolic rates among animals and should eat every two hours. It also has red tooth tips formed by the deposition of iron, which provides protection against wear.
Eurasian pygmy shrews live in the British Isles and most of continental Europe, European Russia, and Siberia to Lake Baikal. The northern boundary of their range runs beyond the Arctic Circle. These tiny animals inhabit relatively humid shaded areas with dense vegetation. However, they can also be found in meadows, wetlands, steppes, shrubland, sand dunes, forests and forest edges, and rocky areas.
Eurasian pygmy shrews are solitary and territorial creatures. They are active throughout the day and night and live in undergrowth and leaf litter. As their eyesight is generally poor, shrews rely on hearing and smell to locate their prey.
Eurasian pygmy shrews breed from April until August. Females usually produce between 2 and 8 young per litter and care for the young in an underground nest. Since the gestation period is just over 3 weeks, they can have up to 5 litters in one year. Baby shrews are born blind and helpless weighing less than 1 g. Weaning occurs in about 22 days after which they become independent and establish their own territories.
Eurasian pygmy shrews are not threatened at present but they suffer from habitat loss, the use of pesticides, and shortage of insect prey.
According to IUCN, the Eurasian pygmy shrew is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.