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The common shrew (Sorex araneus), one of Britain's most abundant mammals has a long, flexible snout, tiny ears and small eyes typical of most shrews. The fur is dark brown on the back, with paler brown flanks and a pale belly. Juveniles have lighter fur until they undergo their first moult, after which their winter coat grows. This species is a 'red-toothed shrew'; iron is deposited in the enamel of the crowns of the teeth, making them more resistant to wear-and-tear. The Latin name araneus means 'spider'; this refers to the old belief that shrews were poisonous, like spiders.

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