Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
North American Least Shrew - Cryptotis parva
Soricidae Members:
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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 United States, barely reaching Canada, and ranging west to NB and TX and south to the Gulf Coast.
Abundance Probably fairly common (to perhaps locally common) in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, but apparently rare to uncommon in the mountains. However, it is seldom seen unless specifically searched for with trapping efforts; compared with a number of other statewide rodents and shrews, there are still many counties lacking definite records (owing to tiny size and difficulty of trapping?). There are a number of recent photos on the iNaturalist website, many vetted by a expert reviewer; these are all from the Coastal Plain and Piedmont. Nonetheless, the editors suggest a slightly less numerous State Rank of S4S5 than the current S5 assigned by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, as there are still far too many counties with no known records as yet to be completely assured that the species merits a State Rank of S5.
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
State Rank S5 [S4S5]
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
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.