Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Blarina hylophaga

Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew

Order: Soricomorpha
Family: Soricidae

Image of Blarina hylophaga
Blarina sp. - summer coat
Click to enlarge. (43 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew occurs in much of the central Great Plains. Its fur is a nearly uniform brownish-gray, often with brown tips. It hunts for invertebrates - insects, other arthropods, and earthworms - in moist areas with good cover, such as along riverbanks and in ditches. Like other Blarina, it has venomous saliva, and will eat small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles if it catches them. This species of shrew typically lives for about eight months; very few live through two winters. In her short life, a female usually produces one or two litters. The six or seven young reach adult size and are weaned in about a month. Abdominal musk glands - which apparently taste as bad as they smell - protect this shrew from many potential mammalian predators. The musk glands do not deter owls, however.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males may be slightly larger than females.

Range: 92-121 mm

Range: 13-16 g


Elliot, 1899.  Field Columbian Museum Publications, Zoological Series, 1:287.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Blarina hylophaga

Image of Blarina hylophaga
Blarina sp. - winter coat
Click to enlarge. (47kb)