Insectivores (Order Insectivora)
Shrews,Sorex. Although shrews are active both day and night and are relatively abundant in some areas, they are rarely seen. Their high metabolic rate and small size require continual foraging, especially in cold weather, when body temperature is more difficult to maintain. Their diet includes insects, snails, earthworms, and spiders. Owls and Stellar Jays are known to feed on shrews, but many predators appear to avoid them. The White Mountains are home to three species of shrews.
Water Shrew,S. palustris. (Fig. 12.1) Head and body about 3.3 in (8.4 cm), tail 2.5–3 in (6.3–7.6 cm); black, frosted with gray-tipped hairs dorsally, underparts whitish and tinged with brown; tail bicolored, 70–105% of total body length; hind feet with a conspicuous fringe of hairs along the sides and toes. Water Shrews live near edges of clear, cold streams up to 11,600 ft (3,540 m). The stiff, thick hairs
on the hind feet are effectively used as paddles to propel this relatively large shrew through rushing streams. Thick body fur helps protect this shrew from icy waters as it swims below the surface in search of tadpoles, minnows, and aquatic insects.
Merriam Shrew,S. merriami. Head and body 2.2–2.5 in (5.7–6.3 cm); tail 1.5 in (3.8cm); upper parts light brownish grey, underparts white. The Merriam Shrew has been reported up to 9,500 ft (2,896 m) in the Pinyon-juniper Woodland and in Cottonwood Creek basin. This is the only species of Sorex to occur regularly in arid habitats, far from streams or meadows.
Inyo Shrew,S. tennellus. Body length 2.4 in (6.1 cm), tail about 1.6 in (4 cm); upper surface dark gray, underparts pale, smoky gray. This shrew occurs along streams up to 9,500 ft (2,896 m).