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Range Map

American Pygmy Shrew

American Pygmy Shrew
Sorex hoyi

This smallest mammal of North America occurs across Tennessee, except west of the Tennessee River.

: 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
Tail: 1.1 - 1.4 inches
Weight: 0.13 ounces

Similar Species:

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

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.

For more information:

Long, C. A. 1974. Microsorex hoyi and Microsorex thompsoni. Mammalian Species, 33:1-4.