Short-tailed Shrew Found Near Plentywood
I realize this is sad. I don’t like showing you a tiny little football fluff of a shrew with its feetsies all curled up super dead. Unfortunately, there are gonna be some Montana animals that we don’t have much for. The northern short-tailed shrew is one of them.
Let’s see…There has been one observation in Montana. And it looks like it got “observed” pretty hard (see photo). The lone specimen came from pretty much the most northeast place possible in the state, 1.5 miles from the Canadian border in Sheridan County. Its scurrying grounds were around a prairie pothole wetland.
And that’s about all we have for the northern shorttailed shrew in Montana. If you know anything else about them in our state, please call or text.
And this is a shout-out to the wonderful people in Plentywood and the surrounding area, keep an eye out. You’re looking for a 4-inch long, lightning-fast, ground-colored shrew that is “relatively large and robust” and whose occipito-premaxillary length is USUALLY greater than 21.5 mm. Should be no problem. But if you need more hints, your best bet for a positive ID is a tail assessment. If the tail is less than 20% of the shrew’s body length, you’ve got a northern short-tailer on your hands.
So, all you have to do is study and memorize the general robustness of your local shrew species (there are only six) and then squint really hard when you see one and you should be able to identify it. You could become the second person ever to officially see one in Montana, and your honor would ring across the prairie through the ages.