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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Soricomorpha · Soricidae · Sorex vagrans

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Sorex vagrans

Vagrant Shrew

Order: Soricomorpha
Family: Soricidae

Click to see adaptations.   
Image of Sorex vagrans
Click to enlarge this image. (48 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Vagrant Shrews live in moist habitats throughout their range. They are common in lakeside or streamside communities of sedges, grasses, and willows, and in coastal salt marshes. Like some other shrews, Vagrant Shrews emit high-frequency vocalizations—a kind of echolocation—that they use to orient themselves. Unlike some shrews, Vagrant Shrews do not posses toxic saliva. Vagrant Shrews have regular fluctuations in body weight, reaching a weight of about 5 - 6 g at one month of age, then dropping to 4 - 5 g until late winter, when they gain about 3 g and are ready to breed. The young are born in the spring, in round nests made of plant materials. At birth, they weigh only about half a gram.

Also known as:

Wandering Shrew

Sexual Dimorphism:



Average: 107 mm
Range: 100-115 mm


Range: 3-8 g


Baird, S.F., 1857 [1858].  Mammals. In Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Vol. 8, Pt. 1. Mammals, p. 15.  Beverly Tucker Printer, Washington, D.C., 8(1):1-757.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Sorex vagrans

Image of Sorex vagrans
Click to enlarge this image. (106kb)

Skull of Sorex vagrans
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Bones and Teeth

Bones of Sorex vagrans
First and second lower left molars (right to left). Click to enlarge this image. (11kb)

Bones of Sorex vagrans
Fourth right upper premolar and first right upper molar (right to left). Click to enlarge this image. (14kb)

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