Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
American Water Shrew - Sorex palustris
Soricidae Members:
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Distribution In NC, spottily occurring in the mountains, south to Clay County. Relatively few records for most counties where recorded, and perhaps absent in a few mountain counties. There is a 2008 report of two nests seen in Polk County, along the edge of the mountains; this county has not been mapped, as the editors feel uncertain whether this is definitive evidence for such a county record.

Coast to coast, from AK to Labrador, and south to the mountainous areas are the lower 48 states. In the East, it occurs mainly in the mountains, south in the Appalachians.
Abundance Rare, at least in the southern counties, and perhaps very rare in the northern mountains.
Seasonal Occurrence Active year-round, but probably few trapping efforts have been made in winter to determine how active it is at that season.
Habitat As the name implies, it occurs very close to water, in this case running water of small streams and creeks, in cool forests. Areas with rhododendron and/or mountain laurel, in cove forests, are preferred.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
Behavior This species feeds in the streams as well as along the edges, but it does enter the water, most unusual for a small mammal.
Comments This is a difficult mammal to trap, such as in pitfall traps, as its habitat does not lend well to that type of collecting. Therefore, details of its range and abundance are slow in coming.
Origin Native
NC List Official
state_status SR
S_rank S3
G_rank G5
subspecies Sorex palustris punctulatus
other_comName Water 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.