Shrews are small, mouse-sized mammals, many people think that they are rodents, but they are actually insectivores. Shrews are one of the smallest mammals found living in Missouri and are found living throughout most of the United States.

Pest Identification

Shrews have an elongated snout, small eyes, small sharp teeth, and dense gray, brown to brownish-black fur. They have 5 clawed toes on each foot. Adult shrews grow to be about 3-4 inches in length, and weigh about ½ to 1 ounce.


In the wild shrews typically live about 1-2 years, some species are territorial, but in general 2 to 70 shrews can be found per acre that they are occupying. Each female will have 1-3 litters per year. They usually start breeding in early spring and continue through late fall. Each litter will have about 2 to 10 young in it and the gestation period for a shrew is about 21 days. To maintain their body temperature shrews have a very high metabolic rate, and in order to satisfy those metabolic needs, they need to consume almost 3 times their body weight in food per day.


Shrews are insectivores which means that they feed on things like beetles, crickets, spiders, and worms; they will also prey on small birds, mice, and even other shrews. Some species may also feed on seeds, nuts, and plant roots. Around homes, they can be found living around woodpiles in areas that have gardens, are landscaped and near compost. They are drawn to these places because they are typically home to the things that they use as food sources. Shrews usually aren’t a problem inside of homes but do find themselves indoors from time to time. If they do get into a home, they should be eliminated quickly to stop them from contaminating your home and food sources with their urine and feces. Shrews should be controlled on properties because they are very aggressive and will attack small animals like birds and chipmunks at bird feeders, and may even attack small pets.


Preventing problems with shrews on your property can be very difficult, but there are some things you can do to deter them. It is important to keep woodpiles and compost piles away from the exterior of your home and make sure that gardens and landscaping around your home do not become overgrown. In order to prevent shrews from getting into your home seal cracks and holes in your homes foundation, place tight-fitting caps on any chimneys, make sure that vent covers are secure, and place door sweeps on all exterior doors.


Shrews are an aggressive species and if you try to handle them they will not hesitate to bite. The best way to prevent and control current problems with shrews is to partner with a professional pest control company who has the experience, training, and equipment necessary to eliminate and control shrews in your home and on your property like the experts here at Rottler.

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