The discovery of a new mammal for the first time in a century in Britain
The discovery of a new mammal for the first time in a century in Britain 1-182
A great white- toothed shrew has become the UK's first mammal in a century after a post on social media led to its discovery.
A photo on Facebook of the animal caught by a cat has led to the identification of the first non-native mammal created in the UK since the 1920s.
The greater white-toothed shrew has never before been found on mainland Britain. However, ecologists worry that the animal could wipe out pygmy shrew populations in the UK, as it has in Ireland, where it first appeared in 2007.
Melissa Young, Sunderland's director of digital marketing, has posted photos of the new shrew, which her cat caught in the garage, leading to its discovery by ecologist Ian Bond.
Tests conducted by experts from the British Mammal Society confirm that it is a greater white-toothed shrew, found in western continental Europe, in Guernsey, Alderney and Herm, as well as a small part of North Africa.
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“I have always kept my cats inside to minimize their impact on wildlife, so I was really surprised when they started catching shrews regularly. Fortunately, most were able to escape uninjured, but the opportunity to study those who didn't make it led to this invaluable discovery.” Mrs. Young said.
“The wildlife on your doorstep is simply amazing and I am grateful to Ian for his observations and guidance that led us to take a closer look at something most people don’t look twice.”
Ecologist Ian Bond said he noticed the white-toothed shrew because of its distinctive head and resemblance to a character from the children's TV show "The Clangers".
After contacting Mr. Bond, Young kept the suspected shrew in the refrigerator until further testing could be carried out. Subsequent DNA testing, by Ecotype Genetics and Swift Ecology Ltd, confirmed it to be the largest white-toothed shrew.
Alan McDevitt of the Mammal Society said it was not surprising that the white-toothed shrew made its way to mainland Britain after it was first identified in Ireland more than a decade ago.
“This is a worrying development, as this invasive shrew is clearly linked to the local disappearance of the native pygmy shrew in Ireland,” McDevitt said.

They are known to outcompete other shrew species on other islands, so it is imperative that their distribution and potential impacts on other shrew species be quickly assessed."
Gavin Metrics, a non-native invasive species of Natural England, added: "This is a great example of how important it is to be vigilant about invasive species in our gardens, parks and green spaces."

Source: websites