At about 4 inches, the Masked Shrew is one of Utah’s smaller mammals. He has a brown body and a tail that is longer than the tails of most species of shrew. Although he is small, the Masked Shrew is a veritable bag of ferocious energy and is able to thrive in a greater diversity of habitat than any other North American mammal. Feeling just as comfortable in the grassy fields and marshlands as he does in the Rocky Mountain’s forests and peaks, the Masked Shrew thrives on a diet that is every whit as diverse as his habitat, feasting on such comestibles as insects, worms, mollusks and even scavenging from carcasses! Although he swells in a great diversity of climates, it does seem somewhat more likely for the Masked Shrew to be found in the Bryce Canyon area than in the Zion National Park area, due to the fact that the number of Masked Shrews tends to increase the further north you go, with his range only barely extending into Utah and New Mexico.
Rather than engage in manual labour, the Masked Shrew typically prefers to make use of burrows that have been created by other species of burrowing mammals. Using dried grass, the Masked Shrew will often improve his living situation inside these abandoned tunnels by building a small nest. The Masked Shrew remains active all year long, even through the cold Utah winters (and even through the cold Alaskan and Canadian winters for that matter!) Not only is he active all throughout the year; but he is also active all day and night, taking only small naps.
Each year, the female Masked Shrew will bear several litters of young, with each litter consisting of up to 10 individuals. However, due to his many predators such as birds of prey, snakes, foxes, leopard frogs, brown trout, other shrews, weasels, and even bluebirds, as well as disease and long, cold winters, it is rare for a Masked Shrew to live longer than just one year.