Museum, University of Nebraska State


Date of this Version



Occasional Papers of the Museum of Southwestern Biology (February 6, 1998) number 8: 1-43.


Copyright 1998, Museum of Southwestern Biology. Used by permission. Anne E. Rice, Technical Editor; Jennifer K. Frey, Lead Editor; William L. Gannon, Series Editor; Terry L. Yates, Managing Editor.


The southern short-tailed shrew, Blarina carolinensis, inhabits a broad range of ecological situations in the southeastern United States and, in many areas, is among the two or three most abundant species of small mammals. Nevertheless, its natural history is poorly known and much of what researchers assumed was fairly well understood about this species actually resulted from work on another species (Blarina brevicauda) and may not be correct in all instances. This problem resulted when modem systematic methods revealed that the wide-ranging and well-studied species known at that time as Blarina brevicauda actually consisted of three species (B. brevicauda, B. carolinensis, and B. hylophaga). The purposes of this investigation were: 1) to review published literature on the natural history of short-tailed shrews and determine which information actually pertains to the southern short-tailed shrew, and 2) to summarize current knowledge about this shrew.

The existing body of knowledge concerning the southern short-tailed shrew is reviewed in the categories of taxonomy, morphology, fossil record, distribution, genetics, habitats, populations, reproduction, movements and home range, nests and runways, diet, physiology, predators, and parasites and disease. Suggestions are provided for future research on B. carolinensis.