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Hedgehogs, moles and shrews

The lowland streaked tenrec of Madagascar. Tenrecs are a family of 34 species living mainly on the island of Madagascar. Although...Read More >>The lowland streaked tenrec of Madagascar. Tenrecs are a family of 34 species living mainly on the island of Madagascar. Although they resemble shrews and hedgehogs, they are more closely related to manatees, hyraxes, elephant shrews—and elephants. They feed mostly on insects and other invertebrates. Hedgehogs, moles and shrews are a loosely related group of small animals. They have long snouts and very keen senses of smell that they use to find their prey. Most eat insects, worms and other tiny creatures, but some shrews are able to kill quite large prey, such as frogs. Many of these animals are nocturnal, emerging only at night to feed.



Star-nosed mole, eastern North America, up to 20 cm (8 inches) long. Ringing the star-nosed mole's snout are 22 pink, fleshy...Read More >>Star-nosed mole, eastern North America, up to 20 cm (8 inches) long. Ringing the star-nosed mole's snout are 22 pink, fleshy “fingers”, containing more than 25,000 minute sensors. The mole relies on them to feel its way around.
Mole digging

Moles

Moles are small, burrowing animals with clawed, shovel-like paws and small eyes. There are 46 species of mole and their relatives, the desmans and shrew moles. Moles rely mostly on their sense of touch to get around and detect prey. Their flexible snouts are particularly sensitive.
A cross-section through a molehill. The mole is tunnelling towards the surface. Moles tunnel underground in search of worms and other invertebrates to eat. They build underground "larders" for storing earthworms for later consumption. As a mole digs, it pushes the waste soil up to the surface to form a mole hill. Some species may forage for food on the forest floor at night, but most moles feed on invertebrates that fall into their network of tunnels.
 
Golden mole, southern Africa, up to 20 cm (8 inches) long. While not related to “true” moles, golden moles have evolved similar...Read More >>Golden mole, southern Africa, up to 20 cm (8 inches) long. While not related to “true” moles, golden moles have evolved similar features—because they have similar lifestyles as underground burrowers. Golden moles have short legs with powerful digging claws and dense fur that repels dirt and moisture. Covered over with skin, their eyes have no function. 

The Etruscan shrew, which is 3.5 cm (1.4 inches) long and weighs just 2 g (0.07 oz), shares the title for the smallest land mammal on Earth with Kitti's hog-nosed bat.

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