You see a little critter scurry across your floor and it looks like a mouse or rat but it’s not quite right – the nose is too long. If this is a scenario that sounds familiar, you may be dealing with a shrew. Although they bear a strong resemblance to common house rodents, shrews aren’t rodents at all and are actually closely related to hedgehogs and moles. Unlike their troublesome but cute and unassuming cousins, these critters are some you definitely don’t want in your home, garage, barn or business.
Shrews Got Feeling Down?
Are you having shrew problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your shrew removal.
You could easily mistake a shrew for a mouse as it scurries by, but closer inspection reveals some key differences. A shrew grows to about three to four inches long, including their tails, which are more proportionate to their bodies than those of common house mice. Their small beady eyes and dense, velvety brown or black fur is solid colored, in contrast to mice who typically bear bicolored fur. Their snouts are long and their ears which are also smaller than rodent pests, also have a thick covering of fur.
Where do Shrews Live?
Shrews live all throughout the United States. As burrow-building mammals, they tend to stick close to the ground. You can find their nests under fallen trees, logs and rocks. They choose spots with vegetation for cover, so marshes, fields and forests are all fair game for these creatures.
Closer to your home, they’ll target areas like your flower and vegetable garden. When the weather cools off, you may find shrews in your basement or outbuildings like your garage, barn or shed. They also love the spaces between fence posts, which provide the coverage and security they need to burrow and nest.
If you spot a shrew in your home, it’s probably there by mistake or trying to avoid severe, inclement weather. These critters usually prefer to avoid people and their everyday activities.
Are Shrews Dangerous?
Shrews bite when scared or upset. If you corner them or try to pick them up to remove them from your space, there’s no question about whether they’ll bite: they will. Their bite contains a venom that they use to hunt prey. While toxic to the animals they eat – namely bugs – it produces only a mild stinging and burning in humans.
Pets, small children and those with compromised immune systems may experience a more severe reaction to shrew venom. Additionally, those who are allergic to their bites may need emergency care. Otherwise, you can expect to feel mildly uncomfortable for a few days until the swelling and irritation subside. In addition to a mild yet inconvenient reaction to shrew venom, all bites that break the skin carry a risk of infection. If you find yourself on the wrong end of a shrew’s teeth, seek medical attention.
While there’s no strong correlation between shrews and zoonotic diseases that pass to people, it’s possible these critters have ticks or fleas hiding in their fur, potentially exposing you to Lyme disease and plague, among other illnesses.
What Damage Do Shrews Cause?
Homeowners might find the presence of a shrew or two in their garden beneficial – they eat insects that harm plants. It’s their propensity to bite when cornered and their burrowing and digging habits that cause them to become problematic.
A shrew digging tunnels can uproot a lawn, disrupt a garden or mess with an irrigation system. If you have outdoor pets or livestock, you may wish to find an immediate solution to your shrew problem to avoid potential conflict and bites. The odor they emit when upset or to ward of predators can also cause an unpleasant experience, making you want to avoid your own yard or buildings.
Dealing with a Shrew Problem
A good offense is the best defense when dealing with shrews, and in this case that means excluding them from your yard and outbuildings. Keeping shrews at bay may mean trimming foliage and keeping groundcover tidy, as well as burying wire to prevent burrowing in your garden. A fence can be effective when used in conjunction with other exclusionary measures, as shrews are horrible climbers.
Because shrews are solitary mammals, there’s usually only one or two in a given area at any time. Making your garden, yard and outbuildings less appealing to them as well as removing those present is an effective way to control a shrew problem.
Because they bite, it’s not a good idea to try to trap and remove shrews yourself. Contact a wildlife expert from Critter Control to obtain help safely and humanely removing shrews from your property. Our experts can also help you exclude them effectively, preventing a reoccurrence later on. Give us a call at (574) 825-1079 to speak to a trained Critter Control specialist today.