• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected. More »

Desert Shrew

desert shrew

desert shrew

NPS Photo

Desert Shrew
Notiosorex crawfordi

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?

old photo of the Lower Cliff Dwellings

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...