Greater White-toothed Shrews confirmed in England

DNA analysis of a deceased shrew found by a Sunderland cat owner is the first confirmed record of the greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) in mainland Britain.

Native to Europe, the Channel Islands, and North Africa the greater white-toothed shrew has established itself as an invasive non-native species in Ireland where it outcompetes native pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) leading to local disappearance of the species. While the DNA analysis is the first confirmed record, anecdotal evidence suggests the species may have already been present in the Sunderland area since at least 2015.

Due to their insectivorous diet shrew droppings can be easily mistaken for bat droppings and occasionally the DNA analysis of droppings collected during preliminary bat roost appraisals will return an identification of pygmy shrew, we wonder how long it will be before we record our first greater white-toothed shrew?

Our native small mammals are widely under recorded, if you see a shrew or other small mammal, please report your sighting to your local mammal group.