What Is the Smallest Mammal?

etruscan-shrewDepending on how you define size, there are two contenders for the title of smallest terrestrial mammal: the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat from Thailand and Burma and the Etruscan shrew, which is found around the Mediterranean and in parts of Asia.

The Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is the smallest in terms of length at 29-33mm. It is sometimes referred to as the bumblebee bat as it is a similar size to one of those insects.

With reddish-brown or grey fur and a pig-like snout, it has tiny wings that allow it to hover. The species lives in caves in colonies of about 100 bats (though sometimes congregates with up to 500 batty friends) and feeds on insects.

The Etruscan shrew is the smallest in terms of mass, despite eating 80-90 per cent of its body weight in food each day. Weighing around two grams, it has a hyper-fast metabolism: its heart beats an average 800 times a minute and it cannot survive even half a day without food. It mostly lives off animals such as slugs and insects.