The Arizona shrew, native to the desert southwest, is found not only in the desert, but in mountain foothills including the Santa Rita Mountains to the south of Tucson.
The shrew is thought of as a rodent, but they are an insectivore. They have such voracious appetites that they must eat constantly or risk starving to death. They do all their hunting at night, and conserve energy during the day by going into a ‘mini’ hibernation, slowing their metabolic rate down considerably.
The tiny shrew is barely 2 inches long, and weighs about as much as a nickel. They are immune to the sting of a scorpion, so will eat those along with insects, lizards, and even small mammals. They have a grizzly habit of ripping heads and legs off their prey, and eating them later. Enough for a good horror flick plot.
The shrew is short-lived, and usually doesn’t survive more than a year in the wild.