Skip to Main Content

southeastern shrew

Fact File

Scientific Name: Sorex longirostris longirostris

Classification: Mammalia, Order Eulipotyphla, Family Soricidae

Identifying Characteristics

The native southeastern shrew is similar in appearance and habits to the masked shrew but can be distiniguished by its shorter tail , reddish brown fur, and smaller body size. It weighs in at 0.11-0.14 ounces and has an approximate total length of 2-4 inches. The breeding season is from March-October and 1 to 2 litters is produced with 1-6 young per litter. The nests are composed of leafy material and fine grasses and are often found in rotting logs. This species is active day or night, usually hunting for insects to eat. Their lifespan in the wild is rarely more than a year, but they can live as long as 18 or 19 months. They make a chipping noise that can be heard occasionally, which probably assists in their use of echolocation. They have a population density of 12 individuals per acre and are preyed upon by owls and opossums.


This species occurs throughout the Coastal Plain and Piedmont lowlands in Virginia, except on the Eastern Shore, and it has also been collected west of the Blue Ridge, but its distribution in the Ridge and Valley region is not as widespread. They are associated with disturbed situations: cultivated fields, abandoned fields, thickets of saplings and shrubs, and young forest. A dense ground cover of grass, sedge, herbs or honeysuckle is generally present. The broad range of habitats in which it has been found – planted fields, dry uplands, moist floodplains – suggests that the microhabitat represented by honeysuckle or equally dense ground cover may be more important than the major habitat type.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.