Shrews can be somewhat common depending on the area in which you reside in the United States. These small mammals can be sometimes mistaken for field mice, but their impact is often far worse. Their importance to gardens lies in their feeding off of slugs, insects, and snails.
While they do serve a purpose in some cases, shrews can cause damage to your property should they invade the home. If you have found a shrew on your property, the best course of action is to seek the help of a qualified professional for its removal. Catching a shrew may prove to be quite difficult, but if mishandled, they may bite humans. Shrew bites have been known to be painful and spread disease, so this is not a job for the general public.
Know Your Shrews
Shrews are tiny mammals that are hyperactive and always eating. It has been said that a common shrew must eat every three hours or it risks death from starvation. Shrews are fast creatures that can cause pain by way of their bites and damage to your home if they are able to gain access.
Common distinctions from field mice are the shrew’s elongated snout and uniform colored fur. In contrast to the shrew, mice have larger eyes, a small nose and sometimes have two shades of color in their fur. Shrews can also be mistaken for moles, but shrews are much smaller in size and have larger feet.
In their entire population, there are over 250 species of shrews throughout the world. Only 30 of these species exist within the continental United States. They are most known for frequenting gardens and woodland areas and can live for up to two years.
Shrews are dangerous little creatures because of their ability to take on animals that are much larger in size. To recognize a shrew, you can also listen for the sound of their high pitched squeaking. Shrews also have a musky odor that aids them in fending off predators. These minute mammals have spike-like teeth and are not remotely related to rodents.
Different Types of Shrews
The most common type of shrew is the Northern short-tail shrew. This species of shrew lives in Michigan and other wetland areas. The water shrew lives in the United States and Canada and has adapted to aquatic living. This type of shrew has the ability to walk on the surface of water for a short period of time. Elephant, or jumping shrews, exist in Africa and resemble smaller versions of kangaroos with trunks. Oriental tree shrews live in tropical tree forests in Southeast Asia. The masked shrew lives in Alaska, Canada and the northernmost states within the U.S.
Least shrews can grow up to three inches in length and have grayish-brown or reddish-brown colored fur. These types of shrews live in weedy fields or forests and are more active during night hours.
All shrews have poor eyesight and hearing ability and hunt their prey using their sense of smell and touch. Their smell is comparative to that of a skunk and can be used to identify a shrew if one is mistakenly identified as a mouse.
While shrews are not often considered to be a pest, they can be vicious if confronted and mishandled. If a shrew has gotten inside the home, they can cause damage by urinating on or near stored food and leave nasty smells as they mark their territory.
If a shrew has been spotted inside the home, the best thing to do is to contact a pest control facility in order to have the shrew removed from the property. These tiny mammals are fast, nervous and fearless when it comes to confronting predators and humans.
Shrews can bite humans, leaving an often painful ache at the point of contact. In addition, there also exists the possibility for the transmission of disease, so it is best to leave removal to qualified professionals.
Shrew-Proofing the Home
The best way to deal with a shrew problem is preventing them from accessing the inside of the home in the first place. Removing entry points into the home will best exclude them from entering the property in the first place. To eliminate their entryway, fill any holes or crevices that they may use to get inside.
Shrews also enjoy living in brush-filled areas, so in order to get them to relocate, their natural habitat must be disturbed. If a shrew is able to gain entry into the home, they are able to create great damage.
Trapping a Shrew
If a shrew has been spotted inside the home, in lieu of contacting a pest control specialist, the home owner can use a trap for removal. First, the homeowner must determine where the shrew is most active. Along the wall where the activity has been spotted is the best location for trapping the shrew.
Humane Shrew Trapping Methods
Purchasing a shrew trap is the most humane way of removing a shrew from the home without causing it harm. This is also a good way for the home’s human and pet residents to avoid being bitten by this aggressive little creature. You may be able to purchase a shrew trap from a local hardware store for a relatively inexpensive price.
In trapping the shrew, it is best to avoid all contact with the animal completely. Of the trapping methods, this is the best because of the open wire and ease of use. This allows the shrew or other vermin to be released into the wild without causing them harm.
When dealing with an animal like this, despite the use of a humane trap, it is in your best interest to wear long gloves to avoid contact. If care is not given to the method of removal, a mousetrap baited with peanut butter or oatmeal can provide a means of removal.
Professional Shrew Removal
Like many pests, shrew removal is something that is best left handled by professional animal control specialists. Shrews do not hibernate or become less active in months with colder temperatures. In colder climates, they tend to use the snow as a cover as they seek food and shelter.
In many cases, it is best to wait until the snow has fully melted before attempting to remove shrews using professional means. This is only in the case of shrews invading garden spaces or outside of the home. Inside of the home, while traps may be used, it is best to call in a professional to have the pest removed.
What to Expect
When hiring a professional shrew removal company, an animal control specialist will come out to the property and assess the damage. The removal technician will survey the home to locate the entryway and make a recommendation for its permanent closure.
The technician will then assess the activity zone in which the shrew spends its time. A trap will then be set out for the shrew to be caught and released away from the property. In some cases, the technician will use traps similar to mousetraps in order to deal with the problem. This will kill the shrew, allowing for its disposal.
How Much Does it Cost?
While there are no fixed fees set online for companies to remove shrews, Cost Helper estimates that wild animal removal between $200.00 and $1,000.00. An initial fee of $120.00 is the typical cost for consultation. After the property is surveyed to determine the severity of the problem, the company will provide the consumer with a written estimate.
Emergency service calls that take place outside of normal business hours will cost the consumer additional fees for the consultation and trap setup.
In many cases, the cost of the removal of shrews can largely depend on the severity of the problem. If a professional removal company deems the problem to be severe, they may charge for setting up multiple traps.
Saving Money on Professional Removal
To save the largest sum of money, it is best to determine the severity of the shrew problem before calling a professional removal service. Locate their points of entry and seal off any entryways into the property so that the problem doesn’t become greater.
Some humane traps can be purchased at a hardware store and can be used to trap and release shrews. Thick gloves should always be worn when dealing with shrew problems because these animals are venomous. They are tiny, but their bite can cause pain to family members and pets.
Due to their aggressive nature, shrew removal is best left in the hands of professional removal companies. When hiring a company to remove shrews, take care to remove children and pets from the home to allow the professionals better access without risking harm to anyone. Shrews bite and can leave painful swelling upon contact, so give the specialist room to work.
To save money on the removal in general, ask the removal specialist how cleanup should be handled following the removal. Shrews can leave feces and urine all over the property which should be handled with the proper cleaning supplies.