Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Southern Short-tailed Shrew - Blarina carolinensis
Soricidae Members:
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Photo by: Owen McConnell
Distribution In NC, the range is somewhat poorly delineated from the extremely similar Northern Short-tailed Shrew, but apparently found throughout the Coastal Plain and the southeastern half of the Piedmont. It seems to be essentially absent from the mountain region, and is very scarce in the northwestern half of the Piedmont.

Occurs from southeastern VA south to the Gulf Coast, and west to TX.
Abundance Common to abundant over most or all of the Coastal Plain, and common over the southeastern half of the Piedmont. Seemingly quite rare or local in the northwestern Piedmont and low mountains. This is the predominant Blarina species (i.e., "short-tailed shrew") in the southeastern half of the Piedmont.
Seasonal Occurrence Active year-round.
Habitat A variety of forests and thickets, probably more numerous in wetlands than in uplands. It also occurs in fields and other open brushy areas, but wooded areas are favored.
See also Habitat Account for General Mixed Habitats
Behavior Active day and night, though presumably more active at night. They spend much time in leaf litter and are hard to detect.
Comments This species and the Northern Short-tailed Shrew had often been considered as a single species -- the Short-tailed Shrew -- for much of the 20th Century, but by the latter decades there was general agreement among taxonomists that the two entities are distinct species. Lee et al. (1982) indicated that the Southern Short-tailed Shrew occurred west only to the extreme eastern Piedmont, but recent examination of the chromosomes of Blarina shrews has indicated that the Southern occurs over the eastern and central portions of the Piedmont, west at least to Caswell, Iredell, and Burke counties. However, there are some details of the range that are still not yet finalized, especially as one subspecies of the Northern has populations in part of the Coastal Plain, disjunct from another subspecies in the western Piedmont; is the Southern present with the Northern at the same sites in the Coastal Plain? And, there is a specimen (from 1930) of the Southern from Buncombe County in the National Museum of Natural History, but with "fluid" listed rather than skin, skull, etc., for confirmation. This seems to be somewhat shaky confirmation of the species for the mountain region.
Origin Native
NC List Official
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
subspecies Blarina carolinensis carolinensis
other_comName Southeastern Short-tailed Shrew
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
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