• Common name: Shrew
  • Including: Masked Shrew, Dusky Shrew, Arctic Shrew, American Pygmy Shrew, Tundra Shrew, Western Water Shrew, Barrenground Shrew, Holarctic Least Shrew
  • Scientific name: Sorex spp.
  • Order: Insectivora
  • Family: Soricidae

Viewing opportunities

  • Shrews can be found in any moist habitat throughout the Yukon, but they are small and hard to see.


  • Small, grey in colour.
  • Similar in appearance to a mouse with a long narrow nose.
  • Sharp, spike-like teeth (not incisors like rodents).
  • Longer tail.

Fast facts

  • Length: 10 to 15 cm
  • Weight: 10 g
  • Lifespan: 1.5 years
  • Predators: Small mammals, birds of prey
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest, Arctic Tundra

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: Cinereus (S5); Dusky (S5); Arctic (SU); American Pygmy (S5); Western Water (S4); Tundra (S4); Barrenground (S3)
  • Global: Cinereus (G5); Dusky (G5); Arctic (G5); American Pygmy (G5); Western Water (G5); Tundra (G5); Barrenground (G5)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


Shrews live a fast and furious life entirely focused on consuming enough food to fuel their high metabolism. It is active both day and night throughout the year eating its weight in food every day. They are insectivores with teeth specially designed for grasping and cutting its prey. Shrews of the sorex family are some of the only terrestrial mammals known to use echolocation. They emit calls and listen for returning echoes, which lets them locate other objects in the area.


Insects including pupae, eggs, larvae and dormant adults.


Shrew distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Shrew track, front.
Shrew track, front: 0.6 x 0.5 cm.