Close up shot of a common shrew in the Forest
Common Shrew
Scientific Name:
Sorex araneus
They have a distinctive long pointed nose. Fur is dark brown on the back, paler brown around the sides and whitish underneath.
Up to 8cm in length and 14g in weight.
Preferred habitats:
Hedgerows, woodland and grassland.
Insects, earthworms and spiders.
1 year


Breeding takes place between May and September. Females can have up to four litters, each producing five to seven young.


Where do they live in the Forest?

Shrews live on the forest floor, amongst the hedgerows and in the grassland areas.


Natural predators

Owls, kestrels, weasels, foxes and stoats. Although they can often be found abandoned by the predator as they produce a foul tasting liquid from glands on their skin.


Spotting tips

You will need to be eagle-eyed to see one as they can be found in areas with plenty of ground cover and are tricky to spot. Listen carefully and you might be able to hear them as they let out high pitched squeaks when fighting, particularly during the summer. 


Not to be confused with

Small mice. The pointed nose of the shrew is a dead giveaway.


Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.


How you can help

You can attract shrews into your garden by turning it into a wildlife haven by leaving a rough area of grass and encouraging plenty insects and spiders. Another way you could help is to become a Friend of the Forest and support our work creating and maintaining habitats for wildlife.