What Is the Difference Between a Mole and a Shrew?

Moles and shrews differ in their size, body characteristics, activity levels and time spent above ground. While both are insectivores, there are other differences in their diets.

Both moles and shrews are small, but shrews are smaller. Moles are typically between 5 and 8 inches long, while shrews rarely grow above 5 inches long. Shrews are more mousy in appearance, with long, pointed faces and small eyes. Moles have tiny eyes hidden in their fur and no external ears. Moles have large, sideways-facing front feet for tunneling, while shrews have smaller front feet.

Moles live almost exclusively underground and don't have as active a lifestyle as shrews. Shrews are very active and spend time above ground in search of food. Shrews have no problem venturing into the light of day, but moles rarely, if ever, come into the sunlight. Moles dig their own tunnels, and shrews utilize tunnels dug by moles and voles.

Both moles and shrews eat insects, but the diet of shrews also consists of mice, small moles, fruits and vegetables. Moles eat spiders, grubs, earthworms and termites. Because of their much higher activity level, shrews must eat more than moles and may consume as much as three times their body weight each day.