||The Mammals of Texas -
Insectivora : Family Soricidae
: Notiosorex crawfordi (Coues)
Description. A small shrew with
conspicuous ears and long tail (more than twice as long
as hind foot); upperparts lead gray; underparts paler.
Dental formula: I 3/2, C 1/0, Pm 1/1, M 3/3 X 2 = 28.
External measurements average: total length, 81 mm; tail,
27 mm; hind foot, 10 mm.
Distribution in Texas. Western two-thirds
of state, including portions of north-central Texas and
Habits. Desert shrews are found
in the more arid, western and southern parts of the state
but do not appear to be restricted to any particular
habitat. Specimens have been taken in cattail marshes, in
beehives, under piles of cornstalks, among yuccas, in
wood rat nests, and beneath piles of brush and refuse. In
such places they construct their tiny nests of grasses
and other dried vegetation. Unlike other shrews from
Texas, desert shrews do not appear to construct or make
use of underground burrows.
This shrew is thought to feed largely
on both larval and adult insects; captive specimens have
eaten a wide variety of food including mealworms,
cutworms, crickets, cockroaches, houseflies,
grasshoppers, moths, beetles, earwigs, centipedes, the
carcasses of skinned small mammals and birds, and dead
lizards. Conversely, captives refused live rodents,
salamanders, scorpions, and earthworms. In captivity,
desert shrews eat about 75% of their body weight each day
and can subsist without drinking water.
Little is known about the breeding
habits of this shrew. The breeding season lasts from
spring into the fall months, perhaps occasionally as late
as November. Litter size averages three to five young,
but it is not known if more than one litter is produced
The lifespan is not known. Predators
include great horned owls and barn owls.
Photo credit: John L. Tveten.