Photo Credit: Thomas French
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sorex hoyi Baird
OTHER NAMES: Pigmy Shrew
STATUS: Due to the rarity and limited range of the species in
DESCRIPTION: The American pygmy shrew is the smallest North American mammal. Three subspecies are generally recognized in the eastern
The pygmy shrew weighs about 1/16 to 1/8 ounce and averages 3-1/8 to 3-7/8 inches in length. The dorsal coloration varies from reddish-brown to gray. The undersides are grayish-white to smoke-gray tinged with light buff.
DISTRIBUTION: Pygmy shrews are found in boreal
Sorex hoyi was once considered rare as they were difficult to catch with snap traps due to their size. However, trapping success has improved with the increased use of sunken-can pitfall traps.
HABITAT: Sorex hoyi occurs in virtually the entire spectrum of forest communities, seral stages, moisture regimes and elevations throughout the Southeast. These shrews make tiny burrows beneath stumps, logs, and leaf litter. Due to the wide variety of habitats S. hoyi occupies, it is unlikely that habitat is a limiting factor.
FEEDING HABITS: Diet consists of primarily invertebrates.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Pygmy shrews are active year-round. Breeding records indicate S. hoyi breeds in the summer bearing young.
Choate, J. R., J. K. Jones, Jr., and C. Jones, 1994. Handbook of Mammals of the South-Central States. La. St. Univ. Press.,
Laerm, J., L. Lepardo, T. Gaudin, N. Monteith and A. Szymczak, 1996. First Records of the Pygmy Shrew, Sorex hoyi winnemana Preble (Insectivora:Soricidae), In
Whitaker, J.O., Jr. and W.J. Hamilton, Jr., 1998. Mammals of the Eastern United States, 3rd ed. Comstock Pub. Assoc.,
Author: M. Keith Hudson, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries