The common shrew is one of Britain's smallest mammals and is closely related to the mole and hedgehog.


Threats to the Common Shrew

Shrews are useful members of the wild mammal community because they eat invertebrates, many of which are regarded as pests by man. However, although the common shrew is probably one of Britain's most abundant mammals, it is thought that the population as a whole has been reduced over recent years. This is probably due to the use of herbicides (weedkillers) and pesticides. These toxic chemicals destroy the taller grasses and other plants which provide shelter from predators. Also they kill many of the invertebrates on which shrews feed. As of 2020 the IUCN has said that the population is stable but there may be local decreases due to degradation of habitat.

Shrews are partially protected under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 - this means they cannot be killed or captured using traps, snares, nets, or poisons etc.

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