An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Shrew Eyes

shrew eyes 317Shrews have a very high metabolism and spend most of the day and night hunting for food. Subterranean worms and insects are their main prey, which means that a lot of their time is spent in tunnels, where there is little, if any, light. Consequently, shrews have little need for large eyes or excellent vision, neither of which they have.

While the sight of most shrews is probably limited to the detection of light, some species compensate by using other senses, including hearing and touch, to direct them. The Short-tailed Shrew has a well-developed repertoire of squeaks and clicks, including ultrasonic sounds, for navigation and predation. (photo: hair has been brushed aside in order to see eye slit)

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5 responses

  1. Beryl Barr-Sharrar

    Have you even seen one? I haven’t. B.

    October 26, 2015 at 1:08 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    I see them on Isle au Haut. They are velvety and tiny and quick. Sometimes I find a dead one, like the one in this photo.

    October 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

  3. Mary, are there any other tiny mammals this color in NE? Mowing my fields this year I have seen loads of little dark grey creatures scurrying away just in time. I’ve been assuming they are mice but they are this dark soft grey color…nests must be in grass tussocks or barely below ground level….??

    October 26, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    • Kathie Fiveash

      I think those are voles, probably meadow voles.

      October 27, 2015 at 10:57 am

    • Yes, I agree with Kathie – meadow voles!

      October 27, 2015 at 1:48 pm

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