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Shrew: 15 Surprising Facts & How to Get Rid of Them

Cute shrew sitting on a rock

Shrew is a small animal with a long snout that resembles a mouse. However, it does not belong to rodent family is named as a shrew. It is a small mammal that belongs to the giant family Soricidae contains 376 different species in a total of 26 genera. The general features of shrew are elongated thin bodies and feet that possess five toes. They have sharp pointed teeth that resemble spikes and bright shining eyes. The shrew has a strong sense of smell and hearing, but they have a very poor vision as they typically spend their whole life beneath the ground. Their bodies are covered with short, soft and dense fur that covers their entire body. This is usually gray or brown in color. Shrews are positioned among first placental mammals that evolved during the mammals’ dawn age and started living on the earth 50 million years ago. However, an alarming and the saddening fact remains that quite a few species of shrew are endangered because of the rapid loss of their natural habitat.

The smallest mammal in the entire world belongs to shrew family, and its name is Etruscan Shrew. Etruscan shrew is only 3.5 cm long, and its weight is only two grams. Generically shrews exist in all continents except Australia and Antarctica. They can endure in a vast variety of environments like forests, grounds, moderate land, rainforests, etc. In the regions having a moderate temperature, shrews can breed throughout the year. They only impede breeding during extreme winter conditions. The life span of the common shrew is 12 to 30 months.

15 Interesting Facts You May Not Know

Like mice, moles, and voles, many people might consider shrew as an ordinary animal living underground. However, the truth is there are many remarkable facts that are unique to the shrew and are unknown to the vast majority of people. Here we will discuss those super interesting facts and features that make them distinctive among other mammals.

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  1. Shrews prefer to live in different regions. Most shrews are earthly Few of them like to live both on ground as well as on trees. However, some shrew species are semi-aquatic which means that they like to live near water bodies. Semi-aquatic species also contain stiff hairs on their feet that assist them in the running around watery surfaces.
  2. Usually, the shrew is considered as a nocturnal mammal, but in reality, they stay active both during the day and night time.
  3. Shrew generally consumes insects like worms, frogs, and However, the unique thing about them is they can kill animals even larger than their body size.

  4. They are a valuable mammal in the sense of consuming pests, helping farmers to protect their crops naturally. However, sometimes they also eat butterflies, earthworms, and even small birds.
  5. The most prominent feature of the shrew is their highly energetic behavior and metabolic rate that consumes more than enough energy. This unexpected metabolic rate results in a starving appetite. That is why shrew eats throughout the whole day as well as the entire. They usually consume three times of their actual body weight. They are even at risk of starving to death if they remain hungry for even half a day.
  6. They have highest heart beat rate among all mammals. Their hearts can do about 700 beats per minute.
  7. A shrew’s brain weighs about 10% of its total body weight.
  8. Besides being extremely intelligent, shrews can also get scared easily and can even die from loud sounds such as thunder and lightning.
  9. Another distinct feature is that they release a stinking must from their belly glands. This musk helps them stay protected from their enemies. However, this musk does not affect owls much, and they usually fall prey to them.
  10. Shrews are social and solitary animals that can only be seen together during mating. Furthermore, they strictly run after other shrews that enter their place beside breeding season.
  11. Shrews are also venomous mammals. They eliminate and inject poisonous saliva in their enemy’s body through the grooves of their teeth. One shrew species named American short-tailed shrew can produce enough venom to kill almost 200 mice.
  12. They also possess an echolocation system like bats. However, unlike bats, they use their echolocation system to find food and to discover their habitat.
  13. During their short lifespan of two years, female shrews can produce four to ninety baby shrews. Their number depends on species and climate of their region.
  14. Among the vast diversity of the shrew species, North America contains more than forty shrew species that also include the most common short-tailed shrew.
  15. The largest species of the shrew is the House Shrew that can be found in tropical Asia region. Its body length is 15 cm long, and the weight is 100 grams.

Shrew Venom and Its Danger to Human

Normally when we talk about poisonous animals, the common names that come in our minds are snakes, spiders and jellyfish. None of us has considered furry animals to be poisonous. However, the fact is that this universe is full of unique and diverse types of animals, and the shrew is one of them. It is a furry animal and venomous rather than poisonous. They can inject their injurious material to the victim, and this venom exists in their saliva. As we have already mentioned, shrews spend most of their time staying underground. Therefore, they hardly interact with humans. However, their aggressive nature should be kept in mind while handling them. They contain toxic saliva that can cause injuries to a person, but in shrew’s case, it is not that dangerous as it only causes swelling that stings and aches for few days. Their saliva may also show an allergic reaction in humans too.

【Read more about Snakes】

How to Get Rid of Shrew

Usually, shrews are not considered as pests as they feed on insects and worms and can be beneficial for crops. However, it is also important to prevent this animal from entering your home as it is an aggressive creature and can even eat animals larger than its size. It can also create trouble for you by creating a mess by urinating near food stores or leaving an unbearable smell behind them. Here we will discuss few tips and tricks that can help you to prevent shrews from entering your area.

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1. Live Traps

The best way to avoid shrews is to catch them live. This is probably the most humane way to treat them. Few tips should be considered before deciding a trap for the shrew. The size of the trap should be according to shrew size so that it can catch tiny sized shrew easily. The bait that will be placed in the trap should be made up of shrew’s favorite food like bacon and peanut butter. The traps should be located in the area where you have noticed shrew activities. Few types of traps have been discussed below:

Havahart Live Animal Two-Door Mouse Cage Trap

  • Product Description

This trap is ideal for catching small sized animals like a shrew. It is made up of strong wire mesh that is strengthened by steel to provide it a long life. It is also electrified to prevent rust and oxidization. This trap contains two doors having gravity action. The internal sides and edges of a cage are made smooth to prevent trapped shrews from having injuries.

  • How to Use

The first step is to place bait at the back side of the trap. The bait selected should be according to shrew choice. After setting the bait to adjust the trap at the location of entrance or regular visits of shrews. You can also put only baits in these areas to make shrews used to visit this site. It is preferable to hide trap with leaves and flowers. Your trap is ready to catch shrew. Notice your trap regularly to avoid uneasiness for shrews.

  • Benefits

This trap is available in reasonable price. It is harmless for shrews. It can last longer because of its rust-free material. Its size is comparable to shrew size that helps to prevent shrew escape and stolen baits from the cage.

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Grandpa Gus’s Trap That Work

  • Product Description

This trap is made up of clear design and can operate correctly. It contains two doors that can help to catch shrew from both directions. It can help you to catch shrews within no time without creating any mess of touching trap. It directly works with the aid of gravity.

  • How to Use

After buying this trap, all you need is to take some favorite baits for shrews. Place the bait on the back side of the trap to make sure shrew will walk all the way inside the trap. Once the shrew enters the trap tube, the door will shut down because of gravity. It will result in trapping animal inside the tube without causing them any injury.

  • Benefits

It is the easiest and effective way to trap shrew alive. It is quick as it will take only a few seconds to establish the whole system. It is clean and tidy as you will not need to touch inside of trap or dead animal. All you would need is to set the shrew free in your desired place.

NoMol Mole Trap

NoMol Mole Trap is quite straightforward and tricky trap to catch shrews. It has a quite simple structure made up of rust resistant material to avoid damage to its material. It is safe for shrews as the animal sits directly on its tunnel. It is the most economical live trap for catching shrews.

  • How to Use

First of all, you would have to squeeze the trap handles to spread the trap. After that put its D-shaped trigger mechanism and adjust it at a proper location. Then find the accurate place where shrew activity can be found. Locate this trap at shrew visiting areas. Cover the trap with dung, leaves, grass and other such material. The reason behind this covering is to prevent light from entering the trap. After setting it properly, leave the trap for few days to see any victim.

  • Benefits

NoMol Mole trap is the most economical trap to catch shrews. It is a bit tricky to set this trap up, but once it is adjusted properly, it traps shrews for sure.

2. Shrew Repellents

Besides trapping shrews alive, it is also a good idea to keep them away from your area. There are many repellents that can help you to prevent them from entering your territory.

Shake-Away Rodent Repellent Granules

  • Product Description

This repellent has granules that produce a specific odor that signals the shrew to stay away from that area. This repellant contains totally safe chemical that does not cause any problem for plants, trees, other pets and even it is safe for kids. It uses the formula of innate fear for the shrew. Shrew only smells its odor, and they become alerted and avoid visiting your area.

  • How to Use

It is quite easy to use this repellent. You would only have to spread these granules on your area and shrew will stay away automatically. Few heavy granules do not even wash away with rain and stay performing their function even after rain.

  • Benefits

It is easy to use repellant and don’t create any mess like liquids will do. It is economical and safe for your kids, pets and plants and trees. It is also safe for shrew as it only repels them from entering your locality.

International Vibrasonic Molechaser

  • Product Description

It is a repelling device that is manufactured by advanced and powerful technique to repel animals from entering your area. This device with the help of powerful DC motor creates strong vibrations. These vibrations create havoc for underground animals like a shrew.

  • How to Use

It is very easy to use. Simply bury this vibrasonic mole chaser flush under the ground, and it will force shrews to leave your place within a week or two. It produces vibrations that create trouble for the shrew, and they leave your place to find a new comfortable one.

  • Benefits

It does not create any mess. It works amazingly simply by inserting it into the ground. Its vibrations are safe for humans and your pets as well.

Havahart Critter Ridder Ready-To-Use Animal Repellent

Critter Rider animal repellent spray is made up of black pepper, piperine and capsaicin combination that repels shrew from entering your territory. It is safe to use and does not cause any harm to other plants and pets. It simply irritates shrews and forces them to stay away from your area.

  • How to Use

Spraying this repellent on the area you want to protect from shrew will work to keep shrew away.

  • Benefits

It is a multi-purpose spray that not only repels shrews from entering your area but also prevents all other animals from digging your soil. This spray can even stop cats, dogs, and other pets from destroying your lawn manicured surface.


In this big wide world full of diversified species of animals, one should recognize the differences and characteristics of these animals to deal with them accordingly. Shrews are one of the most well-hidden mammals that can hardly be seen by anyone. However, at the same time, they can also irritate you in many ways. Therefore, to keep your home and area shrew free, you should investigate thoroughly about different tricks and tips to select the trapping and repelling method accordingly.

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