Reddish brown above; paler beneath: tail shorter than the body, somewhat square, not ciliated on its under surface.
S. Araneus, Desm. Mammal, p. 149. Flem. Brit. An. p. 8. Fetid Shrew, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 125. Common Shrew, Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. i. p. 527. pi. 118.
Length of the head and body two inches five lines; of the head one inch; of the ears two lines; of the tail one inch nine lines.
Somewhat variable in size and colours. Upper parts generally dusky brown, more or less deep, with a tinge of red; under parts grayish white with a tinge of yellow: in some specimens a triangular whitish patch upon the throat: ears small, hardly showing themselves above the fur, furnished internally with two lobes or duplicatures of the skin placed one above the other and fringed with hair: incisors deep ferruginous brown*: tail varying in length, always shorter than the body, roundish approaching to square, rather stout, of equal thickness throughout and blunt at its extremity, uniformly clothed with short dusky hairs, but having no fringe along its under surface: feet much smaller than in the other species of this genus, the toes scarcely ciliated.
A very common species inhabiting gardens and hedge rows. Feeds on insects, and also on vegetable substances. Possesses a strong musky odour.
* In the Ann. du Mm. (torn. xvn. p. 176). M. Geoffrey St Hilaire describes this species as having the incisors entirely white. This circumstance, together with one or two others, indued me to suspect that the S. Araneus of the continental authors may be distinct from ours.