Scientific Classificationno-image

ORDER: Eulipotyphla

FAMILY: Soricidae

GENUS: Suncus

SPECIES: Suncus murinus



Asian house shrews are a widespread species, mainly found in South Asia but introduced widely throughout Asia and eastern Africa. Originally native to India and introduced to other countries directly or by proxy through humans. Found in all habitats including deserts & human settlements. Some live on the ground near litter and grass, however some populations have been recorded up to as high as 2825 m above sea level but generally do not exceed 300 m above sea level.


The house shrew is about 15cm long from snout to tail tip. They have short, dense fur of mid-grey to brownish grey colour. Their tail is thick at the base and narrower at tip, covered with long bristle like hairs. They have small ears and an elongated snout. Sexes are alike and juveniles are born without fur.


Asian house shrews are Nocturnal species, spending the day in a burrow and coming out at night to forage (look) for food. They are primarily solitary species, apart from during mating and parenting, then they will go back to solitary lives. Shrew mothers and young will form a ‘caravan’ where the young line up behind the mother and follow her as she walks, holding on to each others fur with their teeth.


Asian house shrew mating season is all throughout the year, with each female averaging two litters per year. The gestation period is one month, one to eight young are born per litter. Both parents invest in building the nest which the young will stay in until they are nearly adults, weaned at 15-20 days.


Asian house shrews diet on insects and fruits helps them to support their ecosystem by regulating vast growing insect populations and also spreading seeds with their own fertilizer to different areas around their territory.  They also provide a food source themselves to species higher in the food chain.


Human development and habitat degradation especially on the island has a sizable impact on house shrew populations. But the biggest impact comes from domesticated cats on the island as they have no predators and in many cases hunt for fun or sport rather than for food so their thirst is insatiable.


Asian house shrews emit a strong odour of musk, derived from musk glands that are sometimes visible on each side of the body. The odour is especially noticeable during the breeding season. This odour often deters predators.

** This data set was written by Melissa Stephens of Bournemouth University, England and edited by Stephanie Young**

***Identification of these species has been made through, photographic documentation cross referenced with external specialists and identification books. Any errors in our database will be rectified upon notification, if you feel that we have misidentified any species please help us to improve our research through our contact us page. All people involved will be acknowledge in the website and reports***



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