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Desert Shrew Pest Profile

desert_shrew_01 desert_shrew_02Common Name:
Desert Shrew

Scientific Name:
Notiosorex crawfordi

Order and Family:
Soricidae, Shrews

Description:
Grayish, washed with brown above; pale gray below. Long grayish tail, paler below. Ears more noticeable than in most shrews. Prominent flank glands; larger than in any other North American shrew. Only 3 unicuspids; teeth pigmentation orange. L 3-3 5/8″ (77-93 mm); T 7/8-1 1/4″ (22-32 mm); HF 3/8″ (9-11.5 mm); Wt 1/16- 1/8 oz (2.9-5 g).

Food:
Mealworms, cutworms, crickets, cockroaches, houseflies, grasshoppers, moths, beetles, earwigs, centipedes, the carcasses of small mammals and birds, and dead lizards.

Similar Species:
No other North American shrew has 3 unicuspids or such pale-colored teeth; others have chestnut-colored teeth.

Habitat:
Arid regions, especially in areas dominated by sagebrush and prickly pear. Sometimes found in woodrat nests or in large masses of vegetation at the base of agave, cactus, or other plants in desert areas.

Range:
Southern California east through Arizona, New Mexico, and s Colorado to w Texas and w Arkansas.

Discussion:
Like many desert animals, the Desert Shrew can exist solely on the water obtained from its food, usually the soft inner parts of larger insects. Young Desert Shrews are able to fend for themselves by the time they are 40 days old. The most common predators of this species are owls. Little is known about breeding habits; apparently breeds throughout warmer months, probably bearing litters of 3-5 young.

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