The world in the wild is exciting and full of mysteries that humankind is yet to solve. However, with thorough consistency and curiosity, the human race has been doing its best to know the unknown. And in practice, here comes the list of the smallest mammal comprising multiple species.
These animals are independent, fierce, predators, and cute! Whether it is about chasing other animals bigger than them or jumping around, covering double surface area than their body length, these can do it all.
Scientific Name: Burramyidae
Countries Found: subalpine and alpine areas of the highest mountains of NSW and Victoria, New Guniea, Australia
A Pygmy Possum is two to four inches in height. These animals love to hang upside down from trees, weighing barely over 35 ounces. Found along the alpine areas of Australia, the survival of these species is threatened by ski resorts, extensive bushfires, and road constructions. As a result, IUCN has already listed a species of Pygmy Possum as endangered.
These animals are found feeding on Bogong moths after waking up from their annual hibernation. However, pollution and climatic changes have decreased the number of flying moths. Which means there is a shortage of food for the Pygmy Possums. Coming to the breeding habits, Mountain Pygmy possums breed between October – November. A mother usually gives birth to three to eight young.
Scientific Name: Salpingotulus michaelis
Countries Found: Native to Afghanistan and Pakistan. 25 other species are found in China.
Besides being second on the list of the smallest mammal, this animal also stands as the smallest rodent in the world. They have a body between two to three inches and a tail that measures up to three inches. Because of their size, and kangaroo-lookalike legs, these animals can jump pretty high. Thus making for distances longer than their body length.
These animals love to spend time solitary and are nocturnal, with days in burrows under the sand. Pygmy jerboas use their big ears and excellent sense of hearing to avoid predators. And like most desert animals, they do not drink water and usually collect it from food.
Scientific Name: Mustela nivalis
Countries Found: Armenia, Belarus, Macedonia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Taiwan, Latvia, Sweden, Morocco, Spain
The third on the list of the smallest mammal in the world is the Least Weasel. As the smallest species of the Carnivora order, this particular animal makes for the world’s tiniest carnivore. The size makes it hard to imagine that the Least Weasel will be so cunning and the best in its hunting game. Except for the breeding time, Least Weasels are found to be living all on their own.
These territorial animals also form gender-based male hierarchies. Most of the time, Least Weasels hunt prey bigger than them, but they eat only a few grams. Also, these animals are found performing the “weasel war dance,” a series of leaps and twists accompanied by noises similar to barks. These activities are common among the younger ones when playing with their siblings.
American Shrew Mole
Scientific Name: Neurotrichus gibbsii
Countries Found: United States of America and Canada
The American Shrew Mole is the smallest mammal variant among the moles. Otherwise known as Gibb’s shrew mole, the animal’s body is between 69 mm to 84 mm, with a tail as long as 31 mm to 42 mm. Ever wondered why this animal is known as a Shrew mole, not specifically a shrew or a mole. Because it has fur – the characteristic of a shrew and a large head- an essential feature of a mole.
American Shrew Moles are gregarious, which means they live in small communities of 12 to 15 shrew moles. For communication, these moles are found to make a faint twittering sound that can be heard from several feet away. To eat, they feed upon salamanders, mycorrhizal fungi, slugs, snails, and earthworms.
Scientific Name: Planigale gilesi
Countries Found: Australia
Since the animal has very few teeth, it is known as ‘Paucident Planigale.’ Taking a close look, you will find this animal with only two premolars in each row. The head and body stand 60 mm to 80 mm long, while the tail adds another 55 mm to 70 mm.
Considering the food habit of this smallest mammal, it feeds on multiple creatures, including beetles, spiders, arthropods, small lizards, and locusts. While attacking, it is known to kill small prey with quick bites. In general, a Planigale gilesi is believed to thrive for two years. However, in captives, some animals also reached five years of age.
Scientific Name: Enhydra lutris
Countries Found: New Zealand, Australia, Madagascar
If you are looking for the smallest marine mammal, it is the Sea Otter. Weighing between 30 and 100 pounds, the Sea Otter insulates itself under a thick coat, also known as the densest coat in the animal kingdom. Interestingly, you will find a Sea Otter to hold its paws while sleeping to prevent oneself from drifting apart.
Technically not the worlds smallest mammal, Sea Otters have a lung capacity 2.5 times greater than other land animals of similar size. They are sometimes found to remain submerged in water for more than 5 minutes. However, commercial fishing and oil spills pose a significant threat to Sea Otters, leading them into the red list category of endangered species.
Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew
Scientific Name: Ptilocercus lowii
Countries Found: Borneo, Southern Thailand, Malay Peninsula, and parts of the Indonesian Islands.
Lastly, in the world’s smallest mammals list, you can see the Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew, which measures barely more than 5 inches and weighs something close to 1.41 ounces. After a thorough debate about the particular animal, whether to class Pen-Tailed Tree Shrews as insectivorous or primates, scientists have finally placed the animal type in its order Scandentia.
This animal type is, in general, nocturnal and can grab and have food by holding them close to its mouth and manipulating the item with its hand. Sometimes, the shrew is also known as the worlds smallest mammal to party because the dietary habits. This animal consumes fermented alcohol from the bertam palm, similar to 12 beers per day. But astonishingly, it never gets drunk. Also, small geckos and insects are part of the diet.
So that was all about the world’s smallest mammals doing their day job and surviving to the fullest. These animals are cute and fearless, living life on their own.