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Sorex arcticus

Arctic Shrew

Order: Soricomorpha
Family: Soricidae

Image of Sorex arcticus
Sorex arcticus - adult
Click to enlarge. (43 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Arctic Shrews prefer grassy clearings and marshes within coniferous forests and are never very dense in population. Mortality is high early in life. About one in every seven youngsters dies within a month after it leaves the nest, and 80 percent die before reaching sexual maturity. Maximum life span is about 18 months. Due to their habitat preferences, Arctic Shrews have not been well studied, especially in the more northern part of their range. It is thought that their vision may be quite good, because of their behavior when hunting insects. Like other shrews, they are almost frantically active, pursuing prey around the clock to meet their high energy needs, with short rests between hunting bouts.

Also known as:
Black-backed Shrew, Saddle-backed Shrew, Musaraigne Nordique

Sexual Dimorphism:

Average: 114.7 mm
Range: 100-124 mm

Average: 8.1 g
Range: 5-13.5 g


Kerr, R., 1792.  The animal kingdom, or zoological system, of the celebrated Sir Charles Linnaeus.  (Class I. Mammalia: containing a complete systematic description, arrangement, and nomenclature, of all known species and varieties of Mammalia, or animals which suck to their young; being a translation of that part of Systema Naturae, as lately published, with great improvements, by Professor Gmelin of Goettingen), p. 206.  644 pp.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Sorex arcticus

Image of Sorex arcticus
Sorex arcticus - juvenile
Click to enlarge. (42kb)