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Wildlife Alaska: Shrews
Alaska shrews have not been studied as much as most of its animals, so many particulars of their distribution, breeding cycles, and population remain unknown. Currently, ten species of shrews have been identified in Alaska, but debate remains over their identity and genetic relationships. All of Alaska's shrew species look alike to lay observers, but experts differentiate them based on their ranges and skull structure. Shrews live throughout the state, even on isolated islands, in habitats from temperate rain forests of the Southeast to Arctic tundra. They generally eat insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates, though they may also eat other meat and plants. Their predators in Alaska include weasels, marten, fox, domestic cats, other shrews, and owls. Shrews may be helpful in agricultural areas by eating insects, but elsewhere they may be pests by eating household meat left uncovered. None of Alaska's shrew populations is threatened, with the possible exception of the Pribilof Island shrew.