This animal has a voracious appetite. Said to eat several times its weight every day, the short-tailed shrew is aided in subduing its prey by a poison found in its saliva.
Insects and other invertebrates
Least Shrew (Cryptotis parva)
Uncommon in the Commonwealth, this, too, is a shrew with a short tail. It can be distinguished from the short-tailed shrew (Blarina) by its much smaller body and brown color. The short-tailed shrew is slate gray.
Masked Shrew (Sorex cinereus)
The masked shrew’s “mask” is not a very noticeable feature but the nose is long, extending well beyond the mouth, and quite mobile.
Pygmy Shrew (Sorex hoyi)
The smallest mammal in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. There are fewer than two dozen pygmy shrew specimens from Pennsylvania in museum collections and all of these have been collected in the last 15 years.
Hairy-tailed Mole (Parascalops breweri)
This species and the eastern mole do not occupy common ground in Pennsylvania (see distribution maps). This is the most common mole in the Commonwealth where worms and beetle larvae may attract it to lawns. During the winter months, it pursues invertebrate prey below the frost line by tunneling as much as 18 inches below the surface of the ground.
Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)
This mammal digs tunnels day and night and in all seasons and may burrow through woodlands, fields, and lawns. Although accused of feeding on vegetable matter, this is probably only a minor portion of the diet. However, damage may occur during tunneling that causes some vegetation to die.
Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)
This long-tailed mole has a distinctive “star” nose. The end of its snout is surrounded by short, fleshy projections that are highly sensitive to touch.