Shrews (family Soricidae
), like all insectivores, feed mainly on insects but also eat other small mammals. All insectivores have tiny eyes, small ears, and long, pointed, flexible snouts. They also have a very high metabolic rate and must eat frequently.
The Southern Short-tailed Shrew
, Blarina carolinensis
is found in woods, fields, and brushy areas statewide except for the Keys. It is slate gray, 3-4.7" long, and has a short (.5-1") tail.
Diet includes small snakes, mice, snails, slugs, centipedes, millipedes, insects, spiders, and earthworms. Its saliva is poisonous, allowing it to prey on animals much larger than itself.
Two to three litters are produced each year, with breeding occuring from early spring to late fall. After a gestation period of about 21 days, a litter of 2-3 young is born.
Predators are owls and cats.
** PROTECTED **
Sherman's Short-tailed Shrew
, Blarina carolinensis shermanii
, has been found in southwestern Florida. It is darker and larger than the southern short-tailed shrew.
The Least Shrew
, Cryptotis parva
, is found in dry grassy and brushy areas throughout mainland Florida. It is grayish brown with a paler underside and light gray or white feet. It is 2.8-3.6" long with a short (2.8-3.6") tail.
It forages both day and night for insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, snails, slugs, and earthworms.
Predators include owls, hawks, weasels, skunks, snakes, and cats.
The Southeastern Shrew
, Sorex longirostris
, is found in throughout north Florida and in central Florida south to Highlands County. It is reddish brown, 3-3.6" long, with a long (1-1.3") tail. It weighs a mere tenth of an ounce.
It nests under logs, stumps, and tree roots, and can be found under leaf litter and in tunnels. Its diet includes spiders, caterpillars, snails, slugs, and centipedes.
The southeastern shrew breeds during the spring and summer, producing a litter of 4-6 young.
Predators include owls, opossums, snakes, cats.
** PROTECTED **
The Homosassa Shrew
, Sorex longirostris eionis
, is a subspecies of the Southeastern shrew found in the Homosassa Springs area.
[ Mammal Index | Protected Mammals ]