Body length: 2 – 2 3/5"
Diet: arthropods and vertebrate animals
Shrews are the smallest land mammals on earth, and the desert shrew is tiny indeed. An adult weighs 3 – 5 grams (1/10 - 1/7 of an ounce, or less than a nickel), while a newborn is only 1/4 of a gram.
Desert shrews spend a great deal of time underground, living among the roots of plants and in packrat nests. Like many desert animals, they apparently do not need to drink water. Shrews are aggressive hunters, taking spiders, scorpions, centipedes, moths, beetles, and even lizards. In captivity, they will even eat rodents and birds.
At Tonto National Monument, shrews have been found only in Cave Creek Canyon, but probably occur throughout the Monument.
Did You Know?
The first known written record of the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument dates from 1880. Archeologist Adolph Bandelier visited the dwellings in 1883, and said they were some of the best preserved he had ever seen. More...