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Are shrews endangered?

(11 Posts)
swiperfox Sun 10-Apr-05 10:48:41

Bloody cats are bringing them in. dp reckons they're endangered...anyone know?

jampots Sun 10-Apr-05 10:51:05

we used to stay on a caravan site in the Lake District called Low Park Wood (just by Kendal)and as you left the site along a lane just in front was a wire fence where the farmer used to hang his shrews after they'd been caught - disgusting but I think its a bit of a tradition

triceratops Sun 10-Apr-05 10:51:17

Some of them are - there are lots of different types. I think you would have to be an expert to know the difference. Try putting a bell on the cats collar as this makes it difficult for the cat to sneak up. Very important at this time of the year with all the nesting birds.

swiperfox Sun 10-Apr-05 10:54:31

might be an idea actually. They're driving me mad. They've never really brought stuff in before but just now we're getting something almost every day and i'm losing patience with the cats!!

The mice they catch are gorgeous!! Light grey bellies and really red fur - poor little things.

swiperfox Thu 14-Apr-05 10:43:38

Bloody cat brought another one in this morning

I'd never seen a shrew before - they are the sweetest little animals!!!

The cat is getting a collar with a huge bell on it this weekend. DP says I cant put them in a collar because it will freak them out - not as much as I will if they keep killing little fluffy animals!!!

iota Thu 14-Apr-05 10:59:32

the shrews round here are endangered with my cat on the loose.
I have tried collars in the past and they keep losing them - the vet recommended to stop putting collars on them as they were obviously getting caught on something and it could be hazardous for the cat's safety.

But we do have a problem with dead and not so dead bodies in the house.

Mothernature Thu 14-Apr-05 11:07:42

Common shrew
Sorex araneus
When disturbed from the nest, young common shrews will sometimes follow their mother in a caravan fashion, using their mouths to hold on to the tail of the sibling in front. They are the second most common British mammal.

Life span
Up to 23 months.

Body length: 55-82mm, Weight: 5-12g.

Physical Description
Common shrews have silky dark brown fur, with a pale underside and light brown flanks. The teeth are red-tipped. Shrews have pointed, mobile snouts and small eyes.

Common shrews range across Britain, Scandinavia and eastern Europe. They are replaced by the French shrew in Jersey.

They are abundant in woodland, grassland and hedgerows.

Common shrews are insectivorous and carnivorous, feeding on insects, slugs, spiders, worms and carrion. They need to eat 80-90 per cent of their own body weight in food daily.

Except for when rearing young, shrews are solitary and are extremely aggressive towards each other. They have home ranges, which vary in size from 370-630 square metres and which usually last the shrew's lifetime. Males extend their ranges during the breeding season, in their search for females.

They are active both day and night (but mostly at night), and rest for only a few minutes between bouts of activity.

On meeting strangers of the same sex, shrews will momentarily freeze, and then squeak loudly and rear onto their hind legs. They may then chase each other, resulting in a scuffle where they aim bites and kicks at each other.

They build nests below the ground or under dense vegetation. Shrews have a good sense of smell and hearing, but their eyesight is poor. They locate prey hidden up to 12cm deep in soil, by probing and sniffing with their snout.

After a gestation period of 24-25 days, females give birth to 1-10 young (typically six). The breeding season lasts from April to September, but peaks in the summer. The females rear 2-4 litters a year with no help from the males. The young are weaned after 22-25 days, after which they are fully independent of their mothers.

Conservation status
Common shrews are not considered to be endangered. Their main predators are owls, but they are also hunted by weasels, stoats and foxes. Domestic cats often kill shrews but they are apparently distasteful to them and are rarely eaten. British shrews are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it is an offence to kill them without a special licence.

I'm not mothernature for nothing you know....

swiperfox Thu 14-Apr-05 11:12:10

thank you mothernature
So the cats shouldn't really be getting them then. Will have to try a bell.

look how cute they are!!!

piffle Thu 14-Apr-05 11:55:17

Our cat has a bell and still catches shrews, but no longer is able to catch birds.
Our vet said they were not endangered as had rapid life cycle, certainly in the Lincs Wolds anyway, cats only hunt them if they cannot find anything else tastier.
Cats will be cats...

Louise123 Thu 14-Apr-05 19:22:54

Having the same problem and completely at the end of my tether. Our cat doesn't usually kill them, so they end up running all over the house. One managed to get under the plinth in the kitchen, but I didn't realise it was there until it chewed holes in my rubber gloves. Wondered why the cat wouldn't leave the kitchen for about a week!
Had one yesterday - had to put ds in the high chair and chase it around the kitchen trying to catch it. (With my new rubber gloves!)
This morning, one had managed to crawl half way up the dining room curtains. The cat gave the game away, plus the blood on the floor, so delegated job of getting it out to dh.
I'm now thinking this can't be hygenic - ds isn't crawling yet, but it won't be long. Really don't want to get rid of the cat, but another week like this and I may have to seriously consider it.
I don't suppose there's much I can do to prevent it??

swiperfox Thu 14-Apr-05 19:26:14

I dont think there's anything you can do. We're getting literally something left on the floor every day at the moment and with ds crawling around it mkes me feel ill, so the cats are very very close to being re-homed just now

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