Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

Northern Short-Tailed Shrew

Writing this post kinda makes me feel like I’m in “Back to the Future” (or “Twelve Monkeys”) since it’s intended to support a “WORM BRIEF” (a new feature of the RWC newsletter) that doesn’t yet exist – at least not as I’m typing this!

Kinda cool!

Anyway…as you can see, I want to tell you a little about a critter called the “Northern Short-Tailed Shrew”. Up in my “neck of the woods” (a.k.a northeastern North America), this is a pretty common little mammal – I was actually tempted to call it a “rodent”, but as I discovered (thanks to good ol’ Wikipedia), rodents are a different Order (Rodentia) from moles and shrews (Soricomorpha). This shrew is primarily carnivorous, feeding on insects, mollusks, and…DUHN DUHN DUHN…EARTHWORMS, among other things. There’s actually a pretty crazy list of rather unexpected food organisms on the Northern Short-Tailed Shrew Wikipedia page (voles? other shrews? mice? Yikes!).

These little blaggards (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) have become a bit of a nuisance in my outdoor beds in recent years. I initially thought I had field mice, or some other small rodent, simply making nests (no harm, no foul) – but then I found one that had been attacked by a neighborhood cat (poor little fella pictured above).

Speaking of the neighborhood cats – every summer, my backyard seems to become something of a hot spot for local, semi-feral felines. You can’t blame them, really! It’s nice and sheltered back there, I don’t own a dog, there’s usually have a nice growth of catnip (on vermi-steroids), and of course, there’s even some wild game for them to hunt! lol

I captured one of these patient pusses on film a couple of summers ago – check out that poise and FOCUS!

Worm Bed Guardian
Worm Bed Guardian Close-Up

Thankfully, the shrews don’t seem to be putting a serious dent in my outdoor worm herd. I’ve heard some horror stories from worm farmers who have dealt with moles, and my impression is that they (shrews) aren’t nearly as bad – even if they CAN (according to Wikipedia) eat up to 3 TIMES THEIR OWN WEIGHT per day!

YIKES, I say again!

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    • John Duffy
    • February 3, 2012

    Get a Jack Russell terrier and the cats will magically disappear…If you want to get rid of moles & shrews, a Golden Lab will do the trick! Golden Labs are also great with kids (aside from knocking over the wee ones because they are so loving)…they think they are “lap” dogs but boy they are affectionate and even-tempered

    • Tonya
    • April 10, 2012

    Wow beautiful yard!!

    • B.K. Stainback
    • May 11, 2015

    I found that controlling grubs with Mole Spore will effectively make Moles migrate. They like to feed on grubs .With that and a combo of Cats and Dogs they can be controlled .

    • Arshad Farooqui
    • December 30, 2015

    Hi, I have my wormery in a spare room and it attracting fruit fly, although I have set up fly trap by filling plastic bottle with home made Apple Cider Vinegar. I empty it out every second or third day and through dead flies. But more and more flies i find every time I feed my worm. The reason keeping Wormery in a room its severe cold and rains almost every day in Scotland. I have plan to buy fine netting cloth and cover the wormery so that flies can’t get inside. Is there another easy way to to get rid of these flies.

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