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?
Tonto National Monument averages 15" of rain annually. Snow is a rare occurrence, but as long as temperatures remain above freezing, the saguaros don't seem to mind!