Vagrant Shrews are insectivores with an incredibly fast metabolism, eating constantly to stay alive. They are the smallest mammal in Delta, about 10 centimetres (4 inches) long including their tail.
Vagrant shrews are found in southern BC, south along the coast to central California, and east to Idaho and Montana.
They may look cute to us, but to a worm, larvae, insect, slug, or any other invertebrate, they must be terrifying predators. They can use echolocation in order to navigate, emitting low-intensity sound when navigating or hunting.
Holding or seeing a shrew makes you realize how large and slow we are as humans, as they scurry about rapidly with their flexible noses twitching continuously. Their hearts beat an astounding 1200 times per minute, or 20 times per second, and they don’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.
Shrews do not hibernate, and they are able to reabsorb the bones of their skull during winter to conserve energy. Their mating season happens once a year and lasts only a few hours, on one March morning. These shrews are commonly found in Grassland Set-asides in Delta, and are preyed upon by raptors and herons.