Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
North American Least Shrew - Cryptotis parva
Soricidae Members:
Search Common:                 Search Scientific:

Photo by: Don Seriff
Distribution In NC, it is statewide in occurrence, one of just a few shrew species in the state that occurs in all three provinces. In the mountains, however, it is found mainly at lower elevations (below 3,000 feet) and thus might be absent in a few high-elevation counties.

Occurs over most of the Eastern US, barely reaching Canada, and ranging west to NB and TX and south to the Gulf Coast.
Abundance Generally common in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, but less numerous (uncommon to perhaps locally common) in the mountains. However, it is seldom seen unless specifically searched for with trapping efforts.
Seasonal Occurrence Active year-round.
Habitat Occurs mainly in open habitats, especially brushy fields and clearcuts; however, marshes are also used, as are damp meadows. Seldom found in forested areas.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Behavior Probably active both day and night, but it is very secretive because of its small size and dense herbaceous cover in which it inhabits.
Comments Webster et al. (1985) indicate that the species undergoes strong population fluctuations at a given site from season to season and year to year; this reference also indicates that Least Shrews can be quite gregarious, rather unusual for shrews.
Origin Native
NC List Official
S_rank S5
G_rank G5
subspecies Cryptotis parva parva
other_comName Least Shrew
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all database records for species in that county.