The Pygmy Shrew ,Ireland's only native shrew and smallest mammal is very much at home at the Rock. The entrance to the shrews 'den' can be found by the observant in many places on the tracks or by the side of the tracks,as in image on the top left.You may also find pretty regularly the body of a shrew on a track,the result of someone standing on him inadvertently, or being snuffed out by a dog & dying of fright .The middle image shows the Irish Pygmy Shrew in all his/her glory,courtesy of Birdwatch Ireland.
The shrew on the right is the relatively new arrival & invader : the Ivory-toothed Shrew - more about the latter later.
Pygmy Shrew - Luch Fheir - Sorex Minutus cf Ireland's Mammals,Mac Coitir 2010
Although the shrew is often mistaken for a mouse,it is not a rodent but a member of the insectivora or insect eaters,and is in fact more closely related to the hedgehog.
Noted for its energetic pursuit of prey,and its high-pitched squeaking as it hurries along.Perhaps for this reason it was widely held in Ireland to be a relative of the Stoat(which it also is not).
Read Mac Coitir for more on lore and superstition,page 168.
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