Arctic Shrew

Arctic shrews ranges south from Canada's North-west and Yukon Territories to Minnesota in the US Midwest and east to Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast of Canada. It is most often spotted near to supplies of fresh water. Its preferred habitats are forests growing on boggy ground, which are populated with trees such as wet spruce and tamarack. Such marshy woodland is alive with invertebrates, providing the shrew with an excellent supply of food throughout the year.

The distinctive three-coloured fur makes the Arctic shrew easy to identify. There is a black band running along the back from nose to tail. The sides are brown, and the underside is grey.

Like most shrews and other small, warm-blooded animals, the Arctic shrew must eat huge quantities of food to supply its body with the energy it needs to survive. This is especially true in the colder northern parts of this species’ range, where it will die if it goes without food for more than two hours. Consequently, Arctic shrews will eat virtually anything. Most of their diet is made up of invertebrates, mainly insects such as beetles and their larvae, but they also eat earthworms, spiders, snails, seeds and leaves.

Distribution: Northern North America.

Habitat: In forests near fresh water.

Food: Invertebrates.

Size: 6 - 7 cm (2.5 - 2.75 in); 5 - 13 g (0.2 - 0.5 oz).

Maturity: 2 years.

Breeding: Up to 9 young born in one litter in April or May.

Life span: Unknown.

Status: Common.