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Wild About Wild Mammals - Illinois Insectivores!

Mammals have hair/fur, four limbs (arms/legs) and a large brain. They are warm-blooded, that is, they can keep their body temperature at the same level no matter what the outside temperature is. Females of most mammal species give birth to young that have developed inside a special organ called the uterus. Some mammal species lay eggs instead of having live birth, but none of these species live in Illinois. After birth, mammal young are fed for a time by milk produced in the female’s mammary glands. Shrews and moles are small mammals that feed mainly on insects. Shrews are active at night and are very ferocious for their small size. Moles spend most of their life under ground, using their large front feet and claws to dig tunnels as they search for insect larvae and other prey.

 Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia (Mammals) - Mammals are warm-blooded. Most mammals have young born after developing inside the mother's body in a special organ called a uterus. After birth, the young are fed with milk produced in the female’s mammary glands. A mammal has a large and complex brain.
Order: Eulipotyphla (Shrews and Moles ) - Shrews and moles are small mammals that feed mainly on insects. They have a long, flexible snout and thick fur. Their eyes and ears are very small or not present. Shrews are active at night and are very ferocious for their small size. Moles spend most of their life in soil, using their large front feet and claws to dig tunnels as they search for insect larvae and other prey.
Family: Soricidae (Shrews) - Shrews have five toes per foot. Their eyes and ears are very small. The snout has whiskers at the tip and is long and flexible. Their fur is thick and short. North American shrews have red tips on their teeth. The first incisor on each side of the upper jaw is notched. Their metabolic rate is very high.
     masked or cinereus shrew (Sorex cinereus)
     southeastern shrew (Sorex longirostris)
     American pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi)
     northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)
     southern short-tailed shrew (Blarina carolinensis)
     North American least shrew (Cryptotis parva)

Family: Talpidae (Moles) - The mole lives most of its life below the surface of the ground. Its front feet are larger and wider than its back feet and are modified for digging. The eyes are tiny or absent, and there are no external ears. The nose is long and flexible.
     eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus)