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Southern Short-Tailed Shrew

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The Southern short-tailed shrew (Blarina carolinensis) is a small, gray, short-tailed mammal as the name implies. The overall appearance is somewhat like a rodent, but is a member of the order Insectivora and should not be confused with a member of the order Rodentia. This shrew has a long, pointed snout and ears that are nearly concealed by its soft dense fur. Short-tailed shrews are found in forests and meadows where there is plentiful food and cover.


Their burrows are built in two layers, one near the surface, and a deeper one joined below it. They are often built below logs, which can be penetrated and honeycombed if the log is rotten. Short-tailed shrews are social animals that have been known to share their burrow systems with several individuals. The male and female live together during the prebreeding season.


The short-tailed shrews diet consists of insects, annelids, vegetable matter, centipedes, arachnids, mollusks, vertebrates, and crustacea, and they have been known to store snails for the winter. The saliva is venomous and is injected into the wounds of its prey by the teeth. Their venom is strong enough to kill mice, but is not lethal to humans.


The breeding season lasts from February to November, and have two or three litters per year. The gestation period lasts from 21 to 30 days, and each litter consists of two to six young. The young are reared in nests of grasses and leaves by which entry is gained through a tunnel. These nests for the nests are much larger than their resting nest.


Known predators include snakes, hawks, owls, foxes, weasels, and skunks.


Scientific classification


Kingdom: Animalia


Phylum: Chordata


Class: Mammalia


Order: Insectivora


Family: Soricidae


Genus: Blarina


Species: B. carolinensis


Binomial name


Blarina carolinensis


(Bachman, 1837)

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