How to Catch a Shrew

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Mousetraps can be used to catch shrews.
Mousetraps can be used to catch shrews. (Image: mousetrap image by Brett Mulcahy from Fotolia.com)

Shrews are tiny carnivorous mammals common across the United States. Shrews can benefit a garden by dining on slugs, snails and insect pests. However, if a shrew gets into your house or garage, it can cause damage and even spread disease. Suncus murinus, also known as the house shrew, makes irritating prolonged shrill noises. There's no point trying to catch a shrew with your bare hands; these little animals are fast and can deliver a painful bite. Instead, use one of several trapping methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Mousetrap
  • Glass jar
  • Vole or shrew trap

Buy a vole and shrew trap, or a humane mousetrap from a hardware store. Snap traps placed outdoors may injure or kill birds and local cats. Select traps that either enclose their snap action in a plastic covering, or capture the animal alive.

Place a smear of peanut butter, oats, biscuit or bacon grease inside the trap. Set the trap following the instructions on the package.

Locate the trap near signs of shrew activity. Outdoor signs include small tunnels running through grass.

Consider using a pit trap outdoors for live captures. Dig a hole in a known shrew run large enough to fit a glass jar. Insert the open jar until the lip is level with the ground. Add a lump of cotton wool to cushion the fall of any shrews. Check every day.

Use snap traps for indoor locations. Set them at the bottom of walls and behind boxes. Bait with a dollop of peanut butter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try hamburger meat or chocolate as other types of bait.
  • Be careful when setting snap traps. Wear gloves to protect your fingers.
  • Handle dead shrews with a plastic bag or gloves. Don't pick up live shrews.

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