Dec 162013
 
leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 1 (Paul Costello)

These are pictures of an animal that got caught in a mousetrap that I had set in our porch.  I have seen many mole-like animals, but never before one with this colouring.  Is it an anomaly or a different species or subspecies?

Paul J. Costello, County Rd. 4, Douro-Dummer

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

leucistic Short-tailed Shrew 2 (Paul Costello)

NOTE from Drew Monkman: I forwarded these pictures to Don Sutherland, a zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Here is his response. “This is a Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda (though interestingly, the local subspecies is talpoides, meaning ‘mole-like’ [viz. Talpidae, the mole family]). As for the white, the animal is partially leucistic. This form of leucism is referred to as patterned leucism or piebald. It’s not common; I’ve never seen anything like it in Short-tailed Shrew or any other small mammal, come to think of it, though I’ve seen it in Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and American Crows.”