American Pygmy Shrew, Sorex hoyi

The American Pygmy Shrew is the smallest mammal of North America occurs across Tennessee, except west of the Tennessee River.

Description: A tiny mammal with a short, brownish fur coat in the summer and grayish in the winter; they are pale gray below.   It has a long, pointed snout, cylindrical body, and tiny eyes.   The tail is about one-third the length of the body, and dark brown above and paler below.

Length: 3.1 - 3.9 inches
1.1 - 1.4 inches
0.13 ounces

Similar Species:
Cinereus Shrew  is slightly larger with a longer tail.

Habitat: Occupies a wide range of habitats, including grassy openings, coniferous and deciduous forests, floodplains, and bogs.

Diet: Large part of diet includes spiders, beetles, and insect larvae; but also eats earthworms, caterpillars, and centipedes.

Breeding information: Breeding ecology and nest sites are not well known  . Most births occur between January and March, although births do occur in the fall in lower numbers.  Gestation is thought to last 2-3 weeks with an average of 5-6 young born per litter.

Status in Tennessee: American Pygmy Shrew is uncommon throughout its range, and Deemed in Need of Management by Tennessee Department or Environment and Conservation.

Fun Facts:
American Pygmy Shrews often stand on their hind legs like a Kangaroo; they are very agile and can jump as high as 4 inches.
Weighs less than a dime.

Best places to see in Tennessee:
Moist grassy opening in a forest with downed timber.