Pygmy Shrew – Sorex Hoyi

Distinguishing Features – Overall colouration, reddy-brown above with grayish or brownish underparts. Snout, long; legs, short; feet, clawed.



7.11 – 10.4 cm (2.8 – 4.1 in)


Common throughout Northwestern Ontario in mixed wood environments, bogs and wet fields.


The pygmy shrew feeds mainly on insect larvae, beetles, spiders and carrion.



The pygmy shrew spends much of its life burrowing and foraging underground where it has few enemies. Above ground it often falls prey to hawks, owls, snakes and other carnivores. A female will typically produce one litter of 3 to 8 offspring each year.

Other common shrews of Northwestern Ontario

It’s difficult to say how many kinds of shrews there are. New species become recognized continually; in North America, more than thirty species have been described, some only in the past few years.

Arctic Shrew – Sorex arcticus

Masked Shrew – Sorex cinereus

Water Shrew – Sorex palustris

Northern Short-tailed Shrew – Blarina brevicauda

Less-common shrew of Northwestern Ontario

Smoky Shrew – Sorex fumeus