Cinereus Shrew, Sorex cinereus
This shrew, which is also known as the Masked Shrew because of the sometimes darker coloration over the eyes, is primarily found in Eastern Tennessee with some records in Middle Tennessee.
Description: A very small mammal with brownish-gray fur and a grayish to silver belly. They have a very pointed snout; a cylindrical body; tiny, black eyes; and short, slender legs. The tail is long (more than one-half the length of head and body) with a constriction at the base.
Length: 2.7 - 4.4 inches
Tail: 1.0 - 2.0 inches
Weight: 0.10 - 0.20 ounces
•North American Least Shrew, Northern Short-tailed Shrew, and Southern Short-tailed Shrew have shorter tails.
•Southeastern Shrew has a reddish brown coloration and a slightly shorter tail without an obvious constriction at the base.
•American Pygmy Shrew is smaller and the larger Smoky Shrew is darker.
•Long-tailed Shrew and American Water Shrew have longer tails.
Habitat: Prefers rich, moist woodlands with plenty of moss, leaf litter, and rotting logs, but also uses open fields, floodplains, and marshes.
Diet: The principle foods are butterfly, moth, and beetle larvae; also eats slugs, snails, spiders, and other insects.
Breeding information: Breeding occurs from March through September with females producing several litters per year. Females give birth to 4-10 young in an underground nest made of fresh grass and leaves. A baby shrew weighs 1/100 of an ounce at birth, but they grow rapidly and are weaned around the 20th day.
Status in Tennessee: Although Cinereus Shrew can be abundant in some areas of Tennessee, they are uncommon and Deemed in Need of Management by both TWRA and Tennessee Department or Environment and Conservation.
Fun Facts: •Cinereus Shrews are voracious eaters, eating 3 times their own weight within a 24 hour period.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Moist woodlands of eastern Tennessee.