Northern Short-tailed Shrew
NORTHERN SHORT-TAILED SHREW
Photo Credit: Jennifer Edalgo
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Blarina brevicauda
OTHER NAMES: Short-tailed Blarina, Mole Shrew, Large Short-tailed Shrew.
DESCRIPTION: The short-tailed shrew is a small mammal in the family Insectivora. Members of this family have short legs, tiny eyes, and small ears. Short-tailed shrews are similar in appearance to long-tailed shrews but have larger bodies. Fur coloration is dark slate above and lighter, ash beneath. Short-tailed shrews have a sharp-pointed muzzle that is comparatively shorter than other shrews. These shrews have short, soft, velvety fur which conceals their small ears. Their teeth are noticeably reddish-brown in color. The short tail, which is less than half the length of the head and body, distinguishes the short-tailed shrew from most other shrews. Total length ranges from 3.7 to 5.3 inches; tail length is 0.6 to 1.1 inches; hind foot length is 0.4 to 0.7 inches; and weight is 0.5 to 1.0 ounces.
DISTRIBUTION: Blarina brevicauda is widely distributed from
HABITAT: The short-tailed shrew prefers moist forest, but also occurs in brushland, brushy fencerows, weedfields, dense pasturelands, and salt marshes of coastal areas. It can be found along the banks of small streams, around decayed logs or piles of old brush and in tall thick grass.
FEEDING HABITS: Short-tailed shrews subsist on a diet of mostly animal matter with about 20 percent coming from vegetable matter. Animal matter that is consumed includes insects, earthworms, snails, beetles, slugs, spiders, salamanders, millipedes, centipedes, mice, and the young of ground nesting birds. Vegetable matter is made up of fruits, roots, beechnuts, acorns, and leafy plants. A subterranean fungus (Endogone) is also consumed. Short-tailed shrews have a poison in their saliva that helps them overcome their prey.
Barbour, Roger H., and Davis Wayne H. 1974. Mammals of
Goodwin, George Gilbert. 1935. The Mammals of
Author: Bruce Todd, Wildlife Biologist,