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Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

Sub-family: Suricinae (red toothed shrews)
Genus: Blarina
Species: Blarina brevicauda

Return to Shrew Information page    General Information, Northern Short-Tailed Shrew 
Picture of Northern Short Tailed Shrew

Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

The habitat of the Northern Short-Tailed Shrew is found in North America from southern Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia to central Nebraska and Georgia.  They are found in damp bushy woodlands, marshes and the weedy borders of fields.  They are also found in flower and vegetable gardens.  During the winter the short-tailed shrew will hole up in barns, cellars and sheds.  They construct large elaborate runways under leaves, dirt and snow.  Nests are often made out of shredded grass or leaves and are found in tunnels under logs and rocks.Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

Adult males are slightly larger than females.  Both have velvety soft fur that is slate gray and lighter gray under parts.  The size of a meadow mouse, the northern short-tailed shrew has a snout that is shorter than other shrews, is identified by it short tail, and has small eyes and ears that are hidden by its fur.  They are different from other rodents because their feet have five clawed toes instead of four. 

The northern short-tailed shrew is a solitary creature and very territorial.
They mark their territory with a musky odor from scent glands on their belly and sides.  Their foul tasting scent is used to deter predators.  The shrew is active year round, spends most of its time under ground, has been known to use the tunnels previously occupied by mice and moles.  They are effective climbers and will climb a tree to reach a bird feeder.  They forage for seeds, insects, nuts and worms in leaf litter and dense vegetation.  Northern short-tailed shrews are excellent burrowers and swimmers and will attack and kill animals that are bigger than they are.

This short-tailed shrew has poor vision and uses a series of ultra sonic clicks used to help find its way around.  They also use a variety of sounds to talk and to court each other.  Adult males and females breed in early spring, usually from March to late September.  The female has three litters per year, each litter containing three to ten young.  The young leave the nest at 20 days old and are on their own from then on out.

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Animal, Pest Site Map    Northern Short-Tailed Shrew Information