Common Name

Scientific Name

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The vagrant shrew, Sorex vagrans, occurs throughout much of western North America. In Utah, the vagrant shrew apparently only occurs in the north-central and northwestern areas of the state. Due to the secretive nature of the species, however, the exact Utah distribution of the vagrant shrew is not known. The vagrant shrew can be found in many types of habitat, but it usually occurs near water.

Shrews are small mammals, and the vagrant shrew is no exception, with a combined body and head length of less than three inches. The vagrant shrew is an invertivore, eating insects, slugs, worms, centipedes, and other invertebrates. The species mates throughout the spring and summer. Gestation lasts about three weeks, and females can produce two litters of about five young each year. The vagrant shrew is active year-round, usually at night, but daytime activity is not uncommon. Vagrant shrews build small grass nests, often in rotting logs.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.