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Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

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Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  trukrebew on 6/12/2011, 9:36 pm

I just positively identified a shrew in my SFG. The only other time I'd seen one was in a diorama at the museum. I'm trying to decide if its presence is good or bad for the garden.

A little search online says that they eat:
slugs Very Happy
snails Very Happy
worms Sad
all manner of insects! Sad Very Happy
only a little plant matter Very Happy
It also says that they can have from 2 to 30 babies per year! Shocked

I suspect that it is the critter responsible for digging little holes all over my SFG, probably looking for worms and bugs. I don't really mind the holes except when they are right next to a seedling or plant and the roots become exposed or worse, the plant falls down into it.

What should I do? Do I keep'em or try to catch'em? I live a few miles from a huge reservation that will make a suitable relocation center. Has anyone ever dealt with these things before?


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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  milaneyjane on 6/12/2011, 10:28 pm

Ummmm.....they have done horrible damage to my gardens but not my SFG because I put hardware mesh on the bottom. You definately do not want them in your gardens!!!!!!!! This past winter they ate a few hundreds iris bulbs, a few years ago they loved my beets when they were in the row garden.
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a shrew?

Post  kputikka on 6/12/2011, 11:12 pm

hmm never seen a shrew. I havent planned too well on critters, this gets me thinking.. I know i need some kind of dog proofing. I didnt know they live in MN.

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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  shannon1 on 6/13/2011, 12:21 am

As a child I was bitten by a shrew when I tried to save it from a cat. They hang on like a pitbull. That alone is enough for me not to want them.
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/13/2011, 12:32 pm

If you have plants that "fell down in" their holes, then It's possible that you have voles. I just looked at pictures of shrews, and they look similar with a longer nose.

Voles will eat roots from underneath, and pull plants into their tunnels. I have fought them for 2 years.

see:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t2534-name-this-vermin
and
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t6089-moles-voles-and-holes
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  trukrebew on 6/13/2011, 10:23 pm

Milanyjane: It's too late for me to put mesh down. My boxes are full of plants now. I can do it after this season ends or before the next one begins. I suspect, though, that they are just getting into the boxes from the top or slipping into cracks in the boards b/c I can't imagine them digging through the very hard clay that is under all the boxes.

Shannon: I've also learned that some are venomous and a bite can sting for days. That would scar any child for life!

Squat_J: Thanks for the links, but I'm certain it was a shrew. It had brown teeth for sure. Here's exactly what it looked like, although I didn't take this picture:



Here's another image that matches my critter:



The plants are not disappearing into holes, they are just disturbed by the holes. And the holes only go down an inch or two vertically. Haven't found any tunnels, yet.

As it turns out, my animosity towards the more prominent varmint of the yard, those chipmunks, was lessened a bit this morning. I saw a chipmunk scurry across the driveway and I believe it was carrying a shrew in it's mouth. Maybe it's best to let them wipe each other out.

get that pesky wabbi
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/14/2011, 12:27 am

Truck, the chipmunks (aka Rats in Fancy Jackets) will be back for dessert, probably your prize strawberries. Our Oregon 'munks will eat berries green. I use fine chicken wire around the strawberry beds, regular chicken wire arched over the beds, and bird netting over all to assure nothing (but me) gets in. Good luck in your 'munk control program.

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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  trukrebew on 6/14/2011, 9:51 pm

Do you mean to say that you have THREE levels of protection on your strawberries!! Shocked
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/14/2011, 10:38 pm

Yup, three levels--one of which doubles as lower level of deer fence. Last year, when we got only 1 ripe strawberry from a 2X20 raised bed, PapaVino went on a mission. The year ended with his having bagged 45 chipmunks, mostly in a rat trap just under a deck support (making it safe from birds), but the man is also a crack shot. Bear in mind, we live in the center of 30 acres, 20 of which is second-growth Douglas fir forest. We're easily outnumbered. Nonna

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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  brenda g on 6/25/2013, 9:06 am

Read through this thread and am hoping for more advice/ opinions...

I've recently identified a shrew in my garden. An online search provided conflicting views as to whether or not they are bad for the garden. There don't seem to be a lot of them, and so far only a few plants have been disturbed by the shrew digging too near (but plants remained intact) I keep rat traps in the garden bated with birdseed for the squirrels and chipmunks, but shrews have avoided them so far. I also have plenty of mint and castor bean plants (having read that they help deter rodents). Any information would be appreciated!
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  camprn on 6/25/2013, 9:16 am

If they are not disturbing the plants my suspicion is they are eating the other pests of your garden.

American short tailed shrews are the only venomous mammal in North America.

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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  brenda g on 6/26/2013, 8:13 am

I did not realize they were venomous - interesting! Thanks, camprn!
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/26/2013, 11:24 am

Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Yup, three levels--one of which doubles as lower level of d
eer fence.  Last year, when we got only 1 ripe strawberry from a 2X20 raised bed, PapaVino went on a mission.  The year ended with his having bagged 45 chipmunks, mostly in a rat trap just under a deck support (making it safe from birds), but the man is also a crack shot.  Bear in mind, we live in the center of 30 acres, 20 of which is second-growth Douglas fir forest.  We're easily outnumbered.  Nonna

Wow, I bet you didn't realize you were so overrun! I sure can see why you need all that protection!
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Re: Shrews: Good or Bad for the SFG?

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/26/2013, 11:32 am

Trukrebew and Brenda it sounds like your shrews may be doing some good things there. It sure is tricky when they are disturbing your plants but hopefully they will eat mostly the bad critters!
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