Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

During winter, the skull of common shrews shrinks by up to 15 per cent, only to grow back during spring by up to nine per cent. The animals lose almost a fifth of their body weight in the cold months, and nearly double their body mass again during warmer periods. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell and Seewiesen found that not only bones, but also organs and even the brain itself take part in this depletion. In their study, the scientists assume that this reversible shrinkage ensures the survival of these highly energetic animals during the penurious winter months. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)