American shrew-mole
Neurotrichus gibbsii

Back to the central gallery Back to the central gallery
American shrew-mole
Mass: 8-14.5 g
Body length: 64-76 mm
Tail length: 25-38 mm
Colour: black
Young: 1-4 per litter

Habitat: moist areas in shady ravines and along streambanks

Diet: earthworms, insect larvae,sowbugs, snails, slugs, centipedes and variable amounts of fungi and seeds

Natural History:

The shrew-mole is North America's smallest mole, with many shrew-like features. Unlike most other moles, the shrew-mole is remarkably agile and commonly active above ground.

These diminutive moles construct shallow foraging runways under the leaf litter; tunnels that are used as "highways" for their favorite prey - earthworms and small insects.

Click here for an enlarged view

Click here for an enlarged view
American shrew-mole

Range of the American shrew-mole Distribution:

Restricted to western regions of North America from Santa Cruz County, California, and north through western Oregon and Washington. An isolated population occurs on Destruction Island, Washington. In Canada, shrew-moles are restricted to southwestern British Columbia, and were recently reported to occur as far north as the Squamish region.

Selected Readings:

Campbell, K.L. and P.W. Hochachka. 2000. Thermal biology and metabolism of the American shrew-mole, Neurotrichus gibbsii. Journal of Mammalogy, 81(2):578-585.

Carraway, L.N. and B.J. Verts. 1991. Neurotrichus gibbsii. Mammalian Species, 129:1-4.

Dalquest, W.W. and D.R. Orcutt. 1942. The biology of the least shrew-mole, Neurotrichus gibbsii minor. The American Midland Naturalist, 27:387-401.

  Back to the central gallery
  (Text © K. Campbell 1998-2009)