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Least Shrew

Common Name: Least Shrew

Scientific Name: Cryptotis parva

Total Length: 2.8-3.4 inches

Tail Length: 0.6-0.7 inches

Weight: 0.1-0.2 ounce


Comments:   Least shrews are the smallest mammals in Kansas and are grayish-brown in color. They have a long, pointed, flexible snout, jaws with 30 teeth, small, beady eyes, small ears and a short tail. Most shrews are solitary but some least shrew nests have been found occupied by several adults of both sexes. Females bear up to three litters with 4-6 young each from March to November. Their maximum lifespan is 18 months.

Distribution:   Least shrews range from South America through the eastern half of the United States. In Kansas, they are found in grasslands, shrublands, woodlands and wetlands.

Food:   Least shrews feed primarily on insects, snails and earthworms and consume 60 to 100 percent of their body weight each day.