Shrews In the Garden: Is Shrew Control Necessary
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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Are shrews bad? The little rodent-like critters aren’t pretty, but shrews in the garden are generally beneficial. Read on to learn more about these helpful animals and tips on shrew control.
Shrews in the Garden
Although they are frequently mistaken for mice, shrews are insectivores. They dine on a variety of garden pests including slugs, snails, beetles, caterpillars, centipedes and millipedes, among others. Shrews also eat small mice and snakes and occasionally a small bird. They have huge appetites and can eat three times their body weight in a single day.
Shrew live primarily in thick vegetation and moist plant debris. They generally don’t burrow, but they may take advantage of tunnels created by voles and moles. Although they don’t eat plant roots, they may be nuisances if you grow nut trees and may dig holes that disturb roots or bulbs. They can also be troublesome if they get into your home as well.
Shrew Control: Tips on Getting Rid of Shrews
Mow your lawn frequently; shrews like tall grass. Clean up plant matter and other garden debris. Rake autumn leaves. Feed your pets indoors. Don’t leave pet food where shrews can get into it. Control insect pests with insecticidal soap or neem oil, which are less harmful to bees and other beneficial insects. Control slugs and snails with nontoxic slug bait, traps, or other methods.
Trim low hanging branches and overgrown shrubs. Keep trash cans and recycling bins securely covered. If possible, keep them in a garage or shed and bring them out on collection day. Keep bird feeders clean. Consider feeding birds suet or hulled sunflower seeds, which make less mess. If shrews become a serious nuisance you can reduce their numbers by using mouse traps.
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Shrew - photo and description
Shrew is a representative of a squadron of shrews belonging to insectivorous animals. They are often mistakenly called rodents because of external resemblance to the field mouse. But the closest relatives of the animals are hedgehogs and moles. The large number of these small animals is explained by the absence of natural enemies. This is due to the fact that shrews have wool covered with a special lubricant, secreted by the skin glands. The smell of a fat-like substance discourages any predator, except for some species of snakes in tropical countries.
How to Get Rid of Shrews in the Yard, Garden, and Garage
Shrews can be gotten rid of using a range of methods. This fact makes it even easier for anyone facing an infestation.
If you do, the following shrew removal strategies should prove helpful. In this section, we would provide you many effective ways to address the problem.
We are confident you’d find these quite useful in your quest for a lasting solution to your shrew problem.
Eliminate Hiding Spots from Your Surroundings
Shrews love environments that provide abundant shelter and cover. Yards with overgrown bushes and shrubs provide abundant covering. These will need to be cleared and removed to expose their nesting areas.
Debris, leaves, and piles of wood also provide shrews with hiding spots. You’ll need to clear your yard regularly to make it unwelcoming.
Piles of wood should be placed as far as possible from your vicinity.
Live Shrew Traps
Live traps should be considered if you wish to adopt humane strategies. These traps come in different sizes Which brings us to the types of traps available.
Different types of traps can be used on shrews. But those selected should be small (spacing between the cage) enough to stop shrews from escaping. Recall that we mentioned that shrews are mostly small in size.
Traps should be placed in areas where shrew activity is most visible. One safety measure you must never forget is to try as much as possible to avoid direct contact.
Remember we told you that shrews are venomous? As such, try to avoid bites completely. Only purchase traps that guarantee zero human contact with shrews.
Some good shrew traps include
I. NoMol Mole Trap
Though it’s called a mole trap, it has been used with great success on shrews.
Due to its design for outdoor use, it is made with rust-free material. It comes with every use instruction needed. It is easy to set too. Its trigger mechanism must be adjusted to open help spread open the trap.
This should then be placed along paths or tunnel openings used by shrews.
This trap must also be disguised to make it blend in with the environment. It can be disguised using brushes, leaves, or grass. Check every day to see if it has caught any shrews. If not, try changing its location or get more of it to place at several locations.
Ii. Havahart Live Animal Traps
This product is used on a variety of small rodents.
It also works perfectly on shrews. Its 2 doors are gravity controlled and are activated when stepped upon. It is designed to be humane, and as such has smooth sides that shrews slide in without being injured in the process.
This product has been made with long-lasting material to make it last.
It comes cheap too and is very affordable. You only need to find the areas of your home having the most shrew activity. This trap is placed along such paths and bait is placed at the top. These traps come with detailed instructions as to how they should be set. Always check at least twice a day to see if any shrews have been trapped.
So many other shrew traps are available. These are just 2 of several. If you can’t find any of these in hardware stores, be sure that other alternatives will be available.
Mow your Lawns as Frequent as Necessary
Overgrown lawn and shrubs provide perfect hiding spots for shrews. The same applies to brushes and low-hanging tree branches. Thus, you must pay close attention to your surroundings.
Maintaining your lawn and keeping it short will make your surroundings less inviting. Shrews don’t find the perfect covering they seek to nest around.
Such exposed surroundings also make it easy to be spotted by predators. They will have to find more suitable environments when your home offers none.
Eliminate Secondary Food Sources
Shrews possess voracious appetites. This means they must find food to eat frequently.
You can make your surroundings even less inviting by removing all secondary food sources. These are targeted when they can’t find their usual delicacies. ‘So, to begin, your pet food should be moved indoors.
Try as much as you can to feed pets indoors. But if you must feed them outside, always clean up feeding areas after each feeding session. You will be making food scarce. Food is all they ever need. So, its absence will impact directly on their presence.
Apply Predator Urine
While shrews prey on other creatures, they aren’t left out of the equation either. In other words, other predators feed on shrews. Shrews have a strong sense of smell. This alerts them to the presence of food as well as predators.
By applying or treating your surroundings with predator urine, you are sending a signal to them. This signal alerts them to nearby danger.
You should notice an almost immediate drop in their activities as well as presence. Although predator urine is effective, it must be applied frequently, especially during the rainy season. This is because it is washed off whenever it rains.
Introduce Actual Predators
The application of predator urine was meant to scare shrews into thinking that such predators were around.
While this is effective, you can escalate the situation by introducing real predators. Shrew predators are almost endless. And this includes your pets. Dogs and cats are predators that will prove useful.
These pets will patrol your yard and surroundings effectively when released. For shrews, this is a situation they would rather avoid. What more? These mammals (shrews) are territorial.
In other words, they want to be the only occupants of their immediate surroundings. This makes them feel unsafe, thereby pushing them to seek safer locations.
Watering Your Garden Should be Regulated
Gardens and lawns need to be watered. But you must apply just the right amount of water. This shouldn’t be done excessively as it attracts insect pests. These pests are irresistible to shrews and attract them. Excess water also provides shrews with the needed moisture their bodies need for metabolism.
In the absence of such conditions, shrews will hardly thrive within your environment. You may also want to remove low-lying and stagnant water around.
By taking such actions, you will be directly impacting your surroundings to become less inviting.
Treat Your Garden for Bugs
Insects are bound to be found in outdoor environments. But these can be controlled using either natural or chemical measures.
We recommend treating your garden of grubs and insects whenever they appear to be increasing. Shrews rely on these to survive. Their voracious appetite won’t be satisfied when there are fewer insects to feed on.
If you’ve wondered if there are repellents for shrews, the answer is certainly yes! Lots of repellent products and poisons have been developed to combat shrew presence. Most of these also work on rodents. So, while treating a shrew problem, you’d also be getting rid of rodents.
We recommend that you go for repellents that are non-toxic and environmentally safe. Consider that your pets may stroll around and will certainly pick up things including killing shrews.
Environmentally safe and non-toxic shrew repellents. These may come in granule or liquid form. Whatever it is, apply as instructed and see your shrew problem vanish.
Shrews are unable to withstand its smell and have to avoid affected areas.
These are electronic repellents that are driven into the ground. They scare away shrews by the vibrations they make.
Get as many of these to cover affected areas. Shrews dislike external disturbances and are scared by such vibrations. You won’t spend a fortune applying this strategy as they are considerably pocket-friendly.
These are some of the ways to get rid of shrews. You don’t have to tolerate the problem as it may become worse.
Choose any of the above to reclaim full control of your surroundings. You will also be saving yourself and your family as well as pets from venomous shrew bites.
Are shrews dangerous?
Shrews don't damage plants, and they do little or no burrowing into garden beds. They live under leaf litter and grass and might travel along existing mole and vole tunnels. For these reasons, shrews are beneficial in a garden and should not be eliminated unless they become a nuisance.
Subsequently, question is, are shrews dangerous to cats? The short-tailed shrew is the only poisonous mammal in North America. It produces Blarina toxin, which is both a neurotoxin and a haemotoxin and is secreted via its saliva. Fortunately, because cats are much larger than mice, there is not enough toxin in a shrew bite to cause these symptoms in a cat.
Keeping this in consideration, do shrews carry disease?
Shrews feed 35 percent of all ticks and 55 percent of infected ticks. Emerging zoonotic pathogens, the 132 infectious diseases that cross the line between animal and human species, like Lyme disease, are a constant threat to world health.
Venom from a shrew is lethal to small animals such as frogs, lizards or worms. The venom paralyzes the prey making it immobile and easy to eat. Larger animals like cats and dogs are not affected by the venom. However, a bite can get infected, and the injection of venom can be very painful.
How do you get rid of a shrew in the house?
Though they are not rodents, shrews are similar in size. This means gaps in building foundations, spaces between windows and doors, and the openings around pipes and conduits are all big enough to allow the pests entry into homes. However, shrews found in houses are typically confused or inside by mistake.
are shrews bad for your house? Shrews are tiny mammals that look like a mouse or mole but in fact are not even rodents. These ferocious little predators rarely infest homes or other structures but when they do can cause big issues. Shrews have been known to attack family pets, contaminate food with feces and urine, and emit an awful stench.
what do shrews eat in your house?
Shrews live primarily on insects. They will readily eat grasshoppers, wasps, crickets, snails and earthworms. However, they will also eat mice, small birds, snakes and slugs. Shrews will also feed on seeds around bird feeders, eggs in bird houses and all kinds of flowers, fruits, vegetables and plant bulbs.
If you're wondering how to kill voles instantly, mouse traps such as the Snap Traps by Victor® will do the trick. For maximum effectiveness, bait the traps with peanut butter or oatmeal. Then, place them in front of any holes you can spot around your garden.
What Are the Best Live Traps for Trapping Shrews?
As I mentioned, choosing the right live trap is a key to success when you want to catch shrews or other rodents in your home or backyard.
Some of the best ones that I have personally tried before are as below:
1- Grandpa Gus’s Trap that work
This trap is designed perfectly for shrews and it works on the mechanism of gravity.
With this trap you can catch them in no time without facing any troubles of touching the trap.
So far, it is the simplest and most effective way to catch a shrew alive.
Some of the benefits of using this are:
- You can set the complete system within seconds
- It is clean and you don’t have to touch the interiors
- It has two doors to allow you to trap shrews from both the directions
- Once trapped, you just have to open the trap and set the animal free at a distant location
Once you have bought the trap, you just have to get some favorite snacks for the shrews.
Put the bait at the back end of the trap to ensure that the shrew walks completely inside the trap.
As soon as the shrews reach the trap tube, the door gets closed due to gravity and it will trap the animal in the tube without injuring them in any way.
2- Havahart Live Animal Two-Door Cage Trap
This animal trap is recommended for capturing small-sized rodents.
It’s constructed with sturdy wire mesh supported by steel to enjoy a long life.
The interior and edges of the trap is smoothened to avoid any injuries to the trapped shrews.
The trap has two doors with gravity action. Plus, in order to avoid rusting and oxidation, it is electrified.
Some of the good things that I like about this trap are:
- It doesn’t cause any harm to shrews
- You can get the trap at a reasonable rate
- It is highly durable because of the rust-free material used
- The size of the trap is according to the size of the shrew which doesn’t allow the shrews to escape or steal baits from the trap
First and foremost, you should put the bait at the end of the trap keeping in mind that the chosen bait should be as per the taste of the shrew.
Once the bait is set, place the trap at the entrance of their burrows or areas where they regularly visit.
Cover the trap with flowers, leaves and twigs.
All well, you have set up the trap to catch shrews. Make sure you check the trap regularly.
Other Related Questions:
Do shrews dig tunnels?
Yes, shrews will most often uproot the plants and dig their own tunnel systems when they want to hide in your garden.
You can find several shrew holes as an entrance that are about one inch in diameter.
These can mostly be found around the moist areas of your yard and garden soil with overgrown vegetation.
Why do shrews eat so much?
Despite of their tiny size, shrews are good at eating too much of food in your house.
This is because of the fact that mammals will need more calories in proportion to their body weight, in order to survive.
Also, the surface area of the shrew’s body is larger relative to their body mass and volume.
Can you use essential oils to get rid of shrews?
Yes, shrews hate the smell of some essential oils and can repelled by them if used correctly.
Peppermint oil works best on shrews, mice, rats and voles to repel them away.
You can spray some of it using a sprayer at areas where you see them coming most.
Few other essential oils that can also be used for repelling the shrews are:
- Lemon oil
- Orange oil
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Spearmint oil
- Lavender oil
Using essential oils for shrews is also safe and all-natural.
So, it’s best to use them before you use other approaches like poisons, sprays, or traps for killing them.
The shrew only bites in self-defense, so, you shouldn’t confront them in any way.
The bite may not be fatal but could be a source of infection and bacteria.
They are among the most well-hidden mammals that can hardly be seen.
In case, you see them around, do not disturb them.
Be a little cautious with your pets, take proper action to scare them away and stop them from coming again.
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