An active, opportunistic species, the alpine shrew consumes a large amount of food given its small size. It feeds on a variety of small insects, arthropods and molluscs, which it captures as it forages on the ground in leaf litter and under vegetation (1) (3) (4). The alpine shrew is also likely to practice a method of feeding known as ‘refection’, whereby an individual re-ingests excreted food (3).
The alpine shrew does not go into hibernation in the winter, instead exhibiting periods of deep sleep interspersed by bursts of extreme activity during its waking hours. It moves by rapidly darting over the ground, or it may travel through tunnels under the ground or burrow through snow. The alpine shrew generally lives alone, and individuals are usually highly aggressive towards other members of this species (3) (4).
Breeding is not particularly well documented for the alpine shrew. In northern temperate zones, such as the mountains of Central Europe, most shrews appear to breed between March and November (4). The nest is made from a ball of grass and other vegetation, and is usually placed in a chamber underground (3) (4). Gestation length for species in the genus Sorex is thought to last between 18 and 28 days, with litter size usually averaging around 4 to 7 young, but varying from 2 to 12 (4). Young shrews often exhibit a behaviour known as ‘caravanning’, in which the juveniles follow the female one after another in a long line, holding onto the rear of the shrew in front by the teeth (3) (4).