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.
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.
The masked shrew’s “mask” is not a very noticeable feature but the nose is long, extending well beyond the mouth, and quite mobile.
This mammal is not common. Although most often trapped on talus slopes, it has also been found in recently disturbed areas such as forest clearcuts.
The smoky shrew nests under rotting logs, in rocky crevices, stone piles, and under discarded lumber.
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.
This uncommon shrew has a fringe of stiff hairs on the outer side of each hind foot that is a direct adaptation to its aquatic lifestyle. Air bubbles trapped by its fur give this animal great buoyancy but only allow it to be submerged for about 15 seconds at a time.