Sorex cinereus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Eulipotyphla Soricidae

Scientific Name: Sorex cinereus Kerr, 1792
Common Name(s):
English Cinereus Shrew, Masked Shrew
Taxonomic Notes: Several formerly recognized subspecies recently have been regarded as distinct species (for example see van Zyll de Jong 1983). A population in western Washington and adjacent British Columbia was recognized as a distinct species (S. rohweri) by Rausch et al. (2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-18
Assessor(s): Cassola, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Listed as Least Concern because it is a widespread and abundant species with no major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs from Alaska, in the United States, to Labrador/Newfoundland in Canada, south to Washington, Utah, New Mexico, the Northern Great Plains, southern Indiana and Ohio, through the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and western South Carolina, and on the east coast to New Jersey and northern Maryland in the United States (Whitaker 2004).
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is widespread and abundant.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occupies most terrestrial habitats excluding areas with very little or no vegetation. Thick leaf litter in damp forests may represent favoured habitat, although it appears to be adaptable to major successional disturbances. In Nova Scotia, diet indicated that much foraging was done among wreck on beaches (Stewart et al. 1989). Nest sites are typically in shallow burrows or above ground in logs and stumps. Breeding season may last from March through September (there is evidence of mid-winter births in at least some years in Nova Scotia) (Stewart et al. 1989). There are usually two litters, may be three. Gestation lasts 18 days, and litter size is two to 10 (average around seven). Young are weaned in three weeks. They reach sexual maturity in 20-26 weeks, and some young may breed in the year of their birth.

There are large annual fluctuations in population size. Density estimates range from one to 12 shrews per acre, with a home range of about 0.10 acre. They are usually in scattered, locally abundant populations. It rarely lives past a second summer.

It is a generalist, opportunistic invertivore, and eats primarily insects and other invertebrates, carrion, small vertebrates, occasionally seeds. It consumes daily its own weight in food, and is active throughout the day (and the year) to secure enough food to maintain high metabolic rate. Cloudy, rainy nights increase nocturnal activity.
Generation Length (years):0-1

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs protected areas throughout its range.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.3. Shrubland - Boreal
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2017).

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Rausch, R. L., Feagin, J. E. and Rausch, V. R. 2007. Sorex rohweri sp. nov. (Mammalia, Soricidae) from northwestern North America. Mammalian Biology 72: 93-105.

Stewart, D. T., Herman, T. B. and Teferi, T. 1989. Littoral feeding in a high-density insular population of Sorex cinereus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 2074-2077.

Van Zyll De Jong, C. 1983. Handbook of Canadian Mammals. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

Van Zyll De Jong, C.G. 1991. Speciation of the Sorex cinereus group. In: J.S. Findley and T.L. Yates (eds), The Biology of the Soricidae, pp. 65-73. Museum of Southwestern Biology.

Whitaker Jr., J. O. 2004. Sorex cinereus. Mammalian Species 743: 1-9.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Cassola, F. 2016. Sorex cinereus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41392A115183208. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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