I have been catching mice for the past few weeks using humane traps.
I’ve also been catching some mouse-like creatures with longish snouts and very tiny eyes.
At first I thought they were moles, then I thought they might be voles, but it turns out they’re shrews!
Apparently they don’t transmit hantavirus and eat huge amounts of bugs and grubs.
I caught two adult shrews, without knowing they were shrews, and one little baby shrew recently.
This morning was the day I caught an adult and a juvenile. It was raining so I thought the juvenile was a small wet mouse. It was cowering in the corner of the trap. I didn’t think it might have been a baby shrew, just a small mouse.
When I got to the forest to release them, I looked in the trap and saw that in fact it was a baby. It had no instinctive sense to flee. It was struggling to get upright. It was squirming. I gently shook it out of the trap into my gloved hand. It didn’t run away. It sat in my hand.
I put it gently on the ground and then it started squirming. What’s it doing? I realized it was instinctively trying to burrow into the ground to protect itself, but it was pretty exhausted already.
I opened the trap with the adult, who darted out and professionally squirmed into the forest floor. I gently tried to grab it to put it with the juvenile but it got away.
I noticed the shrews haven’t been eating the seeds I put out, but get into the traps anyway. Not sure why.
I felt terribly about realizing my mistake of breaking up the shrew family by bringing them to the forest. The only consolation I could give myself is that if they were in the yard, my cat might have ultimately found them and brought them lots of pain.
I hope that the family in my garden has not been distrupted to the extent that the young cannot survive. I saw some last year, so if unfortunately I have broken their cycle, I do hope they come again next year.
The garden has been rather beetle-free this year and I hope it is on account of the shrews feasting on garden pests.