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Shrews

Biology: Shrews usually do not live longer than 1-2 years, but they have 1-3 litters per year with 2-10 young per litter that will vary between species. The gestation period is approximately 21 days. 

Habits: Coupled with their high heat loss in a small body, shrews are very active and may feed at night or during the day to meet an exceptionally high metabolic rate. As predators shrews can be considered beneficial because of their voracious appetite. Shrews are very aggressive and with their sharp teeth are well suited for biting and tearing flesh. The short tail shrew also has poisonous saliva that aids in subduing mice and it can inflict a painful bite to humans. The pugnacious nature of shrews sometimes becomes a nuisance when shrews live in or near dwellings. Shrews occasionally fall into window wells, attack pets, attack birds or chipmunks at feeders, feed on stored foods, contaminate foods with their feces and urine, and bite humans when improperly handled.

Food: Shrews do appear in urban and suburban areas particularly where the residential landscaping or surrounding natural vegetation supports high populations of the shrews’ preferred foods, which can include: beetles, grasshoppers, butterfly and moth larvae, wasps, crickets, spiders, snails, earthworms, slugs, centipedes, and millipedes. Shrews also will eat small birds, mice, small snakes, and even other shrews when the opportunity presents itself. Seeds, roots, and other vegetables round out their diet. 

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