American Pygmy Shrew

Sorex hoyi
Chuck Fergus

The pygmy shrew ranges across much of northern North America. It occurs in northern and western Pennsylvania, but records are sparse. This is the smallest mammal in Pennsylvania and one of the smallest in the world. Overall length, 3.2 to 3.8 inches; tail, 1.1 to 1.3 inches; weight, 0.08 to 0.13 ounces, about half  that of a large earthworm. In the field, the pygmy shrew is almost impossible to distinguish from a small masked shrew.

Pygmy shrews often live in wet or closely mingled wet and dry habitats. They live under old stumps and rotting logs, among the litter in sedges, ferns, aspen clumps, and hardwood forests, and in heavy conifer stands bordering water. We know almost nothing about the species’ life history, but it is probably similar to those of other long-tailed shrews (long-tailed, smoky and masked shrews).



Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management