Preble's shrew

Preble's shrew

Preble's shrew

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Sorex preblei

Preble's shrew (Sorex preblei ) is a small shrew distributed across the Great Basin of the United States and southern British Columbia in Canada. It belongs to the order Eulipotyphla, family Soricidae and genus Sorex.


The Preble's shrew has gray pelage on its dorsal side and silvery pelage on the ventral side. Like many other shrews, the Preble's shrew has a long snout, conspicuous ears, small eyes and plant grade feet. The Preble's shrew is the smallest member of its genus in North America.

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The Preble's shrew ranges from 77 to 95 mm in total length, tail length of 28–38 mm, hind feet of 7–11 mm and ear length of 8–11 mm. Besides the relatively small body length, the Preble's Shrew has several distinctive cranial characteristics. The length of its teeth are typically less than 6.5 millimeters, and the length of mandibular tooth row (C1-M3) are usually found to be less than 4.1 millimeters. The height of the coronoid process has been found to be less than 3.3 millimeters.

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Biogeographical realms

The Preble's shrew is known to live in Western North America, from the Columbia Plateau to the northern Great Plains. Specimens have been found in northeastern California, northern Nevada, central and eastern Oregon, southeast Washington, western Idaho, all of Montana, western Wyoming, central Colorado and north of the south shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Shrew fossils have even been found as far south as New Mexico. In Canada, the shrew can be found in south-central British Columbia. The Preble's Shrew typically ranges in elevation from 1280m-2550m.

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Most Preble's shrews live in arid or semiarid shrub-grasses that are associated with coniferous forest dominated by sagebrush. However, these shrews are not restricted to this habitat. They have been found In Oregon living on the big Transition Zone meadows. In another part of Oregon, these shrews have been found in marsh habitats. A majority of Preble's Shrews have been captured in arid habitats, frequently in the immediate or nearby presence of sagebrush. This is likely for protection. Specimens captured in southwestern Wyoming were found in sagebrush-steppe areas: In southern British Columbia, Preble's Shrews were captured in lightly grazed grasslands surrounded by scattered stands of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or ponderosa pine.

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Preble's shrew habitat map
Preble's shrew habitat map
Preble's shrew
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Habits and Lifestyle

Other small mammals that live in the same ecosystem as the Preble's Shrew include Sorex cinereus, S. haydeni, S. merriami, S. monticolus, S. nanus, and S. vagrans. Preble's Shrews have been collected in Montana in close association with Sorex cinereus, and S. monticolus.

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Measurements of population trends, vital statistics and estimates of population density have not been thoroughly studied. At nearly all of the locations where several species of shrews have been captured in association with Preble's Shrew, it is always one of the less abundant species. Predators of Preble's Shrew have not been reported or well documented.

The Preble's Shrew has been an Animal Candidate Reviewed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species twice in recent history but is currently not listed as an endangered or threatened species. No conservation efforts are currently being undertaken.

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Diet and Nutrition

The diet of Preble's Shrew has not been well described, but it likely resembles the diets of other cinereus-group shrews, which feed on small insects and other small invertebrates (worms, molluscs, centipedes, etc.). It has a relatively low bite force, which suggests that it feeds on soft-bodied prey.


1. Preble's shrew Wikipedia article -'s_shrew
2. Preble's shrew on The IUCN Red List site -

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