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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Greater White-toothed Shrew

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Crocidura russula




Foto: Henning Vierhaus
Greater White-toothed Shrews are distinguished from the related Bicoloured Shrew by their overall grey-brown colour, which turns slightly lighter towards the ventral side. In this, the species resembles the markedly smaller Lesser White-toothed Shrew, which, however, only occurs in the east and south of Germany. Among the shrew species of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greater White-toothed Shrew is the species one is most likely to encounter. Its German name is justified because part of the population in winter moves into barns, stables and houses, provided there is a sufficient supply of invertebrate animals like insects and spiders. Its preferred habitats are farmsteads, greenhouses, villages and loosely populated urban neighbourhoods. Here, greater White-toothed shrews can even populate open, neglected areas of industrial factories, partly in great densities. To what degree the species can occur far away from buildings and if an effective competition exists between it and the Bicoloured Shrew has not yet been fully resolved.

Greater White-toothed Shrews occur area-wide in all of North Rhine-Westphalia. Through the analysis of barn owl pellets from areas where the species so far was not reported, this shrew could relatively easily be detected there as well. However, many records rely on trap captures or individuals captured but then not eaten by cats.
The studies of barn owl pellets extending over several years as well as the variable occurrence of Greater White-toothed Shrews in buildings show that the populations of this species undergo clear shifts in abundance.


Henning Vierhaus


Vierhaus H (2023): Hausspitzmaus (Crocidura russula).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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