Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Sorex hoyi
Pygmy Shrew


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

Pygmy Shrew Size -
7.11 - 10.4 cm (2.8 - 4.1 in)


Common throughout Northwestern Ontario in mixedwood 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

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