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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Armored Shrew, Scutisorex somereni

The Armored shrew (Scutisorex somereni), also known as the Hero shrew, is native to Africa. This shrew has been given the conservation status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. The armored shrew is the ability to withstand up to one hundred and sixty pounds of pressure, due to its exclusive anatomy. The grooved, connected vertebrae are unlike those found in any other mammal, including other shrews. This shrew has eleven interlocking lumbar vertebrae, like spines, on its underbelly and sides. These spines connect to the vertebrae along the front and back sides, creating a strong mesh like formation that makes up four percent of the shrew’s body weight. Along with these adaptations, the ribs of the armored shrew are broader than those of other mammals. The abdominal muscles of this shrew are small, as the muscles along its spine better developed for movement, creating a snake-like motion in the shrew’s gait. The diet of the armored shrew consists of snails, small lizards, insects, and worms.

Image Caption: Black and white photograph of a preserved specimen of Scutisorex somereni. Credit: Jwebster 102/Wikipedia

Armored Shrew Scutisorex somereni