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Mammals

Hedgehogs, moles and shrews

The lowland streaked tenrec of MadagascarThe lowland streaked tenrec of Madagascar 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 moleStar-nosed mole
Mole diggingMole 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 molehillA cross-section through a molehill 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 moleGolden mole 

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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