University of Maryland Extension

Shrews

shrew

Shrews are small, mouse-like mammals that frequent gardens and woodlands. They only live 1 to 2 years, and produce 1 to 3 litters, with 2 to 10 young per litter, each year. For such a small animal (smaller than moles and mice) it is quite ferocious, taking on almost anything it encounters. They are active both day and night. They frequently make high-pitched squeaking sounds that are easy to hear. Shrews, like bats and moles, are insectivores, feeding on many insects. Occasionally they will also eat small birds, mice, small snakes and even other shrews. They are voracious eaters, consuming three times their body weight over a 24-hour period.

Shrews seldom are a pest. Rarely, they become trapped in outdoor basement stairs, window wells, or in the basement. Rodent proofing will exclude shrews from these structures. Mouse traps baited with peanut butter and oatmeal can be used to trap shrews. They will bite if not handled carefully. Natural predators include snakes, foxes, and owls.

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