Shrew

Shrews

Peak Nuisance Period:Any time of Year.

Common Nuisance Situations:

  • The pugnacious nature of shrews sometimes makes them a nuisance when they live in or near dwellings.
  • Shrews occasionally fall into window wells, attack pets, attack birds or chipmunks at feeders, they feed on stored foods, contaminate stored foods with feces and urine, and bite humans when improperly handled.
  • Potential exists for the transmission of diseases and parasites.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE NORTHERN SHORT-TAILED SHREW IS VENOMOUS. ALTHOUGH NOT FATAL TO HUMANS, IT WILL CAUSE SEVERE PAIN. PLEASE CONTACT GOT WILDLIFE? LLC FOR PROPER, SAFE AND HUMANE REMOVAL.

There are 6 types of Shrews that call the Northeastern part of the United States home:

Long-Tailed Shrew AKA Rock Shrew

Masked Shrew AKA Common Shrew

Smokey Shrew

Pygmy Shrew

Northern Short Tailed Shrew

North American Least Shrew

Animal Characteristics

Shrew TypeDescriptionDietHabitatBreeding
MaskedGrey brown in color-light grey underside-9cm long, 5 gr in weight – active all yrInsects, worms, snails, salamanders and small mammalsHumid areas, damp northern forestsMates in spring & fall – 3 to 6 young 1x/year
SmokeyDull grey/lighter underpants/longtail brown on top, yellow underneath 11 cm long-5gr/active all yr roundInsects, worm, snails, small rodentsFound near streams in cool damp decidous mixed woodsHas 2 to 3 litters of 5 to 7 young
PygmyGrey brown or red brown w/lighter underparts-5 cm long & 2.5 gr in weight. Active all yr roundInsects, worms & small invertebratesNorthern coniferous & deciduous forestsMates in early summer-1 litter of 5 to 8 young
Long Tailed AKA Rock ShrewSlate grey with a pointed snout less than 9 cm long, active all year roundInsects, worms, snails, salamanders and small mammalsHumid areas, damp northern forestsMates in spring & fall – 3 to 6 young 1x/year
Northern Short TailedFur is thick,velvety, can be black, brownish black or silver grey-4.4 to 5.5 inches long- 15 to 30 gr. VENOMOUS. Active all yr round.Earthworms, voles, snails, other shrews, salamanders, miceGrasslands, old fields, marshy areas, forests, gardensMates March – September-2 litters of 4 to 7 young
LeastLong pointed snout and a long taildense coat that is grayish brown or reddish brown with a white belly-up to 3 inches long. Active all yr roundSmall insects, corpses of dead animalsGrasslands & old fieldsMarch to late November-2 litters of 3 to 6 young

MythBusters: n/a