Savis Pygmy Shrew

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Scientific Name Suncus etruscus Arabic Name Al far Tagged As N/A Endangered Status
 

Description

This tiny shrew has a long tube-like nose and numerous sharp pointed teeth, prominent ears and small eyes. The tail is long and covered in short hairs. There are also scattered longer hairs projecting from it in a herring-bone manner. Body hair is grayish-brown, short, soft and dense. The belly is light grey while the hairs on the back are brown-grey. Suncus etruscus may be one of the smallest mammals living today, with most adults weighing between 1.8 and 3 grams and ranging from 35 to 50 mm in length. They tend to be, and they are often recognized by their small hind limbs. There is no apparent sexual dimorphism.

Range and Habitat

Savi’s Pygmy shrew was discovered in the UAE in spring 2001 in the Emirate of Sharjah. It ranges across the UAE, living in burrows or under plant debris in vegetated areas. Etruscan shrews, have a wide distribution, but they are mainly confined to the Mediterranean lowlands from Portugal to the Middle East. There are reports of S. etruscus in Africa. Many former subspecies that have since been elevated to species occur in Southeast Asia and Madagascar.

Breeding

The mating system of Suncus etruscus is not very well understood. In one study it was found that young pairs of S. etruscus did live peacefully during the mating season. The small size and difficulty of capturing, makes them difficult to study. The time in which Suncus etruscus breeds and the information about its young have not been widely studied. However, other species in the genus have been known to breed at all times of the year. Most pregnancies occur from October through December. One study of S. etruscus pairs found that the gestation of this species was about 27.5 days and that litter sizes were anywhere from 2 to 6. Weaning in the genus as a whole is from 17 to 20 days. The lifespan is 15 months.