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Photo Credit: Thomas French
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sorex Longirostris
DESCRIPTION: Southeastern shrews are long-tailed shrews 2.7 to 3.5 inches in length with tails 1.0 to 1.3 inches long. Their hind feet are 0.35-0.5 inches in length with an ear length averaging 0.25 inches. Southeastern shrews weigh 0.1 to 0.14 ounces. Their brown fur is similar to the masked shrew but more of a reddish brown tint.
DISTRIBUTION: Southeastern shrews are found in Southern Maryland and the District of Columbia to Northern Florida, westward through Alabama, Mississippi, Northeastern Louisiana, northward through Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and into parts of Illinois and Western Indiana.
HABITAT: Southeastern shrews appear to prefer moist habitats such as river flood plains, river swamps, and freshwater marshes. However, they may also be found in upland grassy areas, old fields or planted fields, dry upland hardwoods, hardwood forests near streams, planted pines, long leaf pine stands, dry sandy areas often in association with an understory dominated by blackberry, rushes, sedges, or grasses, and in mixed pine and hardwood stands with a heavy ground cover of Japanese honeysuckle.
FEEDING HABITS: Southeastern shrews feed on insect larvae, spiders, slugs, snails, centipedes, roaches, carrion of small rodents, and some vegetation.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Southeastern shrews areconsidered to be rare throughout their range, and much of their life history is unknown. They are known to burrow in moist soil and use echolocation during foraging. The breeding season begins in late March and continues into October. Litters typically range in size from three to five young. Nests are constructed of fine grasses or leaf-lined and found in or under rotting logs. Maturation usually occurs during the first summer of life, and females will often have more than one litter during their second breeding season. Southeastern shrews undergo two molts per year, one occurring in late spring and the other in fall. While most Southeastern shrews probably only live through one winter, there is evidence suggesting a few may survive two. Predators of these tiny insectivores include owls, opossums, snakes, domestic dogs and cats.
French, T.W. 1980. Natural History of the Southeastern Shrew, Sorex longirostris, Bachman. The American Midland Naturalist. 104 (1), pp. 13-31.
French, T.W. 1980. Sorex longirostris. Mammalian Species. The American Society of Mammalogists No. 143, pp. 1-3.
Barbour, R.H., and W.H. Davis. 1974. Mammals of Kentucky. The University Press of Kentucky. 322 pp.