#299 Nelson's Small-eared Shrew

Critically Endangered

These little creatures are not rodents, they are in the order Eulipotyphla, which means they are more related to hedgehogs than rodents. They were discovered in 1894, then they weren't seen again until 2003 or 2004 (depends which site you read when it was). To catch them 100 traps were set every night for 4 nights. With that many traps they still only managed to catch 3. Obviously they are not well studied or well known. They live in the cloud forest on San Martin Tuxla volcano. They are considered on of the 100 most endangered species (the list includes plants). I found it strange, but the list did not only include critically endangered animals, there were some that were simply endangered. There were a lot more mammals than I personally would have probably included too. I don't have an actual count, but when looking for animals to paint I come across a lot more birds, frogs, and insects than I do mammals. I think it is probably partly because people on the whole prefer mammals to spiders for instance.


I have realized that I'm out of the habit of contacting scientists and people in the know when I am unsure about things. With the 80 days mini-series I couldn't just put off an animal until I heard back from a museum or herpetologist. I can do that now, and need to start that again. The reason I say that is because although I looked at multiple scientific papers and sites, I could not get any more information about the tail of these shrews than the fact that the holotype was "110mm total length, tail 31mm". They didn't say if there was hair on the end of the tail or if it was bald, or what. So, since I've seen different looking tails on different shrews, I opted not to show the whole tail. Also, the colouring. One site described them as sooty brown. I looked at quite a few pictures, and one seemed to be black, one chocolate brown, and then the ones in what I felt was possibly the paper written by or about the people who found the shrews showed an almost silvery grey shrew. I didn't see any good side view of the shrew, all of them were almost directly above. It looked as if there might be a lighter fur underneath, so I ran with that. Though I did not paint it as dark grey or dark brown, it could possibly be that way and this may barely seem to be the correct shrew. The picture in real life is a bit darker grey than it looks online, or at least on my computer. That is one of the frustrating things, I do not know how it looks on any other computer or phone.


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