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smoky shrew

(Sorex fumeus fumeus)


The native Smoky Shrew is the second largest eastern longtailed shrew weighing on average 7.7 grams and with a total average length of 116.8 mm. In appearance, they are found to be a dark grey in winter and a olive-brown in summer, with paler underparts, and a bicolored tail. Between March and early October, two sometimes three litters are born of 2-10 young. The young are full grown and independent at the end of four weeks. This species builds its own burrows or uses those of other small animals through damp leaf mold. The nest is made of dry vegetation in stumps, logs, and among rocks. It is suspected that few live more than 1 year in the wild. This species is preyed on by short-tailed shrews, weasels, foxes, bobcats, owls, hawks and other predators.


This species is found in the western and northern part of state. It has the greatest geographical and altitudinal range of all Virginia’s montane forms. The preferred habitat is damp deciduous-coniferous forest around stumps and under mossy logs near streams and the species appears to be confined to mountains. They were captured at elevations ranging from 700-4000 feet with a mean of 2200 feet.


The Smoky Shrew eats mainly insects and invertebrates living in the leaf litter, which includes centipedes and earthworms . They have also been known to eat salamanders.

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