ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Shrews

I thought my terribly disruptive tunneling critters were voles. I have seen voles in the garden before. So I set a mouse trap in the "vole" tunnel hoping to get rid of the ones that were tearing up my garden. So far I have caught 2 shrews. I really don't want to eliminate the shrews but whatever is tearing up this garden has to go. Anything I plant in the ground here gets pushed out of the soil or tunneled around causing the roots to dry out. Those tunnelers have already cost me a few hundred dollars in terms of plant and crop production. They killed my foxglove and all my asparagus plants near the garden. They may even be responsible for the loss of my rhubarb. I can't risk losing the currants and other plants in the area.

Poor little shrews. There was plenty of room for them in other areas.

john gault
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Location: Atlantic Beach, Fl. (USDA Hardiness Zone 9a)

Re: Shrews

Moles and shrews are typically considered beneficial, because they are predators and eat things like grubs, snails and slugs, which feed on plants; they also aerate the soil. I had a major problem with snails when I first started gardening and now I don't, but I do have tons of mole tunnels all throughout my yard and gardens. Any accidental plant death is well worth the benefits I get from the moles.

Voles are the ones that eat plants/roots. I've never seen a vole in my yard, but do know it's a possibility that some of the tunnels are from voles, but so far it's not enough of a problem that I lose tons of plant (if any) from.

Here's a good site for ID'ing Shrews, Moles and Voles, remember shrews/moles are a good thing. https://extension.psu.edu/natural-resour ... and-shrews

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Shrews

They were shrews, without a doubt. No other mammal has those blood red teeth. And sorry, not a good thing when they were causing that much damage to that garden. The tunneling has already killed several wintergreen plants and caused a serious erosion problem on the hill. I have no other place so riddled with tunnels as this particular section of the yard. The tunnels have exposed the plant roots to air and caused them to dry out, which killed the plants. The wintergreen plants were dug under, around and heaved up. I had to put several gallons of garden soil back in the washed out spots of the hillside. And I still have grubs and slugs and all kinds of soil dwelling invertebrates in that garden.

LIcenter
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Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: Shrews

I have shrews in my yard, and really can't say they are that much damaging to anything I have planted. They seem to not dig very deep, at least not from what I have observed. Most of the time when I see them, they are scaring up worms as seen here.

Image

Honestly, I think they are kinda cute.Image

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Shrews

I really like most of my shrews. I've watched them hunting in the yard many times. I didn't think they could possibly tunnel as much as what I have seen in this tiny area. Yesterday I found a bunch more tunnels between the pots and boards holding the terraces in place. Every open area where I put the trowel in the ground had a tunnel a couple inches under the surface. I was transplanting some top-set onions and had to bring in about a gallon of garden soil to plant them! Shrews eat mice and voles, and often each other so they are not something I want to eliminate. But I have sunk and tripped in too many holes and lost too many plants because of the tunnels.

After eliminating two shrews the tunnels are collapsing. There are many more in the yard. I watched one in the wooded area a couple days ago. I just need them to stop causing so much damage in this garden.

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applestar
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Re: Shrews

This thread has been interesting for me. I don't think I have shrews here -- just moles, voles, and chipmunks.
Loved LIcenter's photos :D

Good luck with your garden, ButerflyLady. :bouncey:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

LIcenter
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:23 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

Re: Shrews

Wow ButterflyLady29, sounds like you are inundated with them! Did you know they are one of the few mammals that are venomous? The ones I have actually live in my garage. They then come out a small hole in the rear, and slip right under the mulch in the blink of an eye. They also have a very high mortality rate in the winter months.

ButterflyLady29
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Location: central Ohio

Re: Shrews

Yes, and the only mammal in North America that is venomous. And yes, we have many many shrews here. I caught one a month ago inside the house. Didn't even know they were in the house.

Shrews have a pretty high mortality rate here in the summer. Every few days I'll find a dead one in the yard.

I did catch one vole yesterday. That trap was on top of the ground. The tunnel was reopened so I set a trap in the tunnel again. Apparently whatever is using it figured out what was going on. It tunneled under the trap and pushed it out of the ground. So the fight continues. Maybe eventually I can thin them down enough so they won't be so bad. They may tunnel under the pots but they haven't dug into them so far.

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