House shrew

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House shrew
House shrews

House shrews

Superordinate : Laurasiatheria
Order : Insect eater (Eulipotyphla)
Family : Shrews (Soricidae)
Subfamily : Crocidurinae
Genre : White-toothed shrews ( Crocidura )
Type : House shrew
Scientific name
Crocidura russula
( Hermann , 1780)

The house shrew ( Crocidura russula ) is a mammal from the shrew family . It inhabits North Africa as well as Southwest and Central Europe.


The head-trunk length is 63–83 mm, the tail length 32–45 mm and the weight 7–15 g. The top is gray-brown, the flanks and the bottom are yellow to brown-gray. The color of the underside and the upper side is not sharply contrasted.


The relatively small distribution area of ​​the house shrew is limited to the southwestern Palearctic . It extends in the southwest of North Africa ( Morocco , Algeria and Tunisia ) over the entire southwest of Europe, largely excluding the Alps, to the northeast to Germany. The northeastern limit of distribution in Europe runs through Germany from northwest to southeast along a line Wilhelmshaven , Bremen , Celle , Haldensleben , Quedlinburg and Wittenberg to Dresden ; near Dresden is the easternmost occurrence.


House shrew, depiction from Brehm's Thierleben.

In Central Europe , the house shrew inhabits forest-free, extensively used and warm open habitats such as fallow land , meadows, hedges , cairns and gardens from the plains up to 300-400 m, locally also up to 680 m. Like the garden shrew, the species often lives - and in the north of the distribution area almost exclusively - in human settlements and in their vicinity. In autumn, the animals increasingly migrate into buildings to overwinter there. In the Mediterranean area the habitat requirements of the species are less tight, but there it occurs mainly in open or semi-open grasslands, scrubland, at the edges of forests and very often on old terraced fields with dry stone walls .

Way of life

The animals are mostly nocturnal. The food mainly consists of insects and their larvae , woodlice , arachnids and snails and occasionally parts of plants. Reproduction takes place from February to October. A female has two to four litters a year, which contain up to 11, but mostly 4 to 5 young. The newly born young mice weigh 0.7–1.5 g. The eyes open between 4 and 14 days of age; the suckling period is about three weeks. During their excursions, the young mice form the caravans typical of many eyelash shrews from the age of seven days by biting into the root of the tail of the front animal . Boys born early in the year are sexually mature in the summer of the year of birth. The lifespan outdoors is a maximum of 30 months.

Existence and endangerment

The house shrew is sometimes common within its range and has spread, at least in Bavaria , further east over the past few decades. It is therefore listed as safe in the Red List in Germany . The world population is also considered safe.

The only European owner is a French zoo, the former German owner is Berlin.



  • Anthony J. Mitchell-Jones, Giovanni Amori, Wieslaw Bogdanowicz, Boris Krystufek, PJH Reijnders, Friederike Spitzenberger, Michael Stubbe, Johan BM Thissen, Vladimiŕ Vohralik, Jan Zima: The Atlas of European Mammals. Poyser, London, 1999, ISBN 0-85661-130-1 , pp. 68-69.
  • Erwin Stresemann (founder), Konrad Senglaub (ed.): Excursion fauna of Germany. Volume 3: Vertebrates. 12th, heavily edited edition. G. Fischer, Jena et al. 1995, ISBN 3-334-60951-0 , p. 375.

Individual evidence

  1. Alois Liegl, Bernd-Ulrich Rudolph and Richard Kraft: Red List of Endangered Mammals (Mammalia) Bavaria. Bay LfU 166, 2003 online, (PDF; 74 kB) .
  2. [1] ZTL 11.6.

Web links

Commons : House shrew  - Collection of images, videos and audio files