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Sorry, afraid no measurements... i was scrambling up a scree at the time!
I agree with Gill, by getting the whole tail in the photo you have made ID easier.
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Thank you both. Is there a ratio that can be used if measurements are absent?
ageneral rule of thumb is the tail should be over 75% of the body length for it to be a pygmy shrew; over 50% and it is probably is a pygmy but could be a common shrew.
The thing I find confusing about the rules of thumb is that some books/guides refer to 75% or 50% of body length, whereas other refer to 75% or 50% of head-body length, and whether the head's included in the 'denominator' makes quite a difference!
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
I agree, it's a case of sloppy writing, and I'm as much to blame for such!
When I, and I suspect books etc., refer to body I mean body including head. With shrews I work on 75% or over definitely a pygmy shrew; 50% or less definitely a common shrew; between 50-75% I go on other features as well. Unfortunately, a lot of the vole pictures recently have been of indeterminate tail length.
I'm going to be doing some work on a large collection of small mammal remains in a Museum in a couple of months. I thought it was just the skulls of around 600 mice, voles and shrews but they have found the vole skins which go with the skulls and I'm hoping they'll find the mouse and shrew skins as well; then I can take my own measurements and bottom this issue.
I don't like taking measurements of live shrews because they die so easily in the hand from shock. Somehow, live it is easier to judge tail length and thickness; you can also see the three tone fur far more clearly than you can in a photo.
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