A shrew is a small rodent, similar in size to a rat, that has many fascinating characteristics.
Funnily enough, this animal has a notorious name in history. Ancient Egyptians considered shrews the spirits of darkness and the English believed that if a shrew ran over a lying animal, the animal would suffer great pain. The name shrew comes from the Middle Age English word shrewe, which meant “evil” or “scolding person”.
This is probably attributable to the putrid smell a shrew makes when threatened, and its poisonous bite.
Despite its tiny figure, the shrew has the greatest surface-area-to-weight ratio out of any mammal on the face of the Earth. Because of this, they also have a high heat expenditure, meaning they have to eat constantly to replenish the energy. This means that they sometimes die from starvation during prolonged naps.
Also, they have an extremely high heart rate, averaging about 700 beats per minute. When they are frightened, the heart rate can spike leading to cardiac arrest. For example, shrews are known to die from being frightened by the sound of thunder.
An animal that dies if it naps too much or when thunder strikes – the shrew is a very sad animal.