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Elimination

The best way to eliminate shrews is to place conventional mechanical traps at the entry points to their burrows and get them as they come out to hunt. Another option is to capture them alive with a gravity-operated or spring-powered multiple-catch trap. Peanut butter works well as bait. They won't eat it, but they will be attracted by the smell.

Shrews may get into your home if they find openings in the foundation or a walkout basement that attracts invertebrates. Although this rarely happens, if it does, you can use a Maheu&Maheu glue trap inside or out.

Rodenticides are ineffective because shrews are insectivores and won’t be attracted to them.

Actions

  • Set multiple-catch traps in their tunnels.

Prevention

  • Inspect the ground regularly so you can do something quickly if you find any damage

Description and development

Shrews are small insectivorous mammals belonging to the Soricidae family. Although they are often confused with voles and mice, shrews are not rodents. You can tell the difference between a shrew and a rodent because shrews’ ears are hidden under their fur and they have a pointy snout and small eyes. The northern short-tailed shrew is the species most commonly found in the suburbs. It ranges from 12 to 28 g in weight and 10 to 15 cm in length. Its fur tends to be dark gray and its tail measures only one-third the length of its body. Generally, northern short-tailed shrews give birth to a litter of five to six young. Females may have as many as three litters between March and September. They rarely live more than 18 months in their natural setting.

Habits

Shrews are burrowers that inhabit forests, marshes, and scrub growth. They prefer moist environments and dig tunnels in the humus layer of the soil. Their nests can be found under logs and rocks, and they have been known to borrow existing tunnels from moles from time to time. Shrews are insectivores that live off insects, spiders, worms, and land snails. Shrews can be very aggressive. They have been known to attack an animal larger than they are, such as a garter snake or young hare.

Shrews are primarily nocturnal and get around using echolocation like a bat. This allows them to hunt underground or aboveground. Shrews are also solitary animals that defend their territory. The northern short-tailed shrew is a venomous mammal that can paralyze and kill a mouse with a single bite.

Since shrews are active year-round, they can dig tunnels around your home and damage your landscaping, even beneath the snow. Unlike moles, they regularly leave their burrows to hunt. This makes the entry points easy to spot. With a diameter of 3 to 5 cm, they are usually located near a vertical surface such as a wall or fence.

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