Shrews are fascinating little animals with a unique appearance and lifecycle. Though not considered rodents, they’re often confused as such and are typically seen as pests by the common American.
The truth is, Shrews are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and are even protected in specific regions throughout the United States and even the world.
Though shrews are interesting when they’re out and about in their natural habitat, they’re less fun to deal with when they’re living inside your home.
These animals can emit quite the odor and are even known to exhibit aggression if they feel threatened.
Are you here wondering how to get rid of a shrew in house? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get started!
What Is A Shrew And Are Shrews Dangerous?
Shrews are small mammals often confused for rodents.
Before we dive into discussing how to get rid of a shrew in house, let’s first talk about what exactly shrews are.
As we mentioned above, shrews are small, furry animals that are often confused with rodents. Shrews are not rodents and are instead mammals similar to moles in the order of Eulipotyphia.
There are many types of animals called shrews but true shrews, or common shrews, are not in the same family as otter shrews, elephant shrews, treeshrews, or marsupial shrews.
The common shrew is about one to three inches in length and weighs less than .67 ounces. These tiny, furry mammals look an awful lot like mice but are distinctive from mice in that they have elongated snouts and smaller ears. Shrews also have small, spikey teeth as opposed to long incisors, like mice and rats.
Shrews are not the longest-lived mammals, with a lifespan of only about fourteen months. They breed year-round and a female shrew is capable of producing up to 10 litters a year.
But remember, shrews are not rodents. They are actually considered more beneficial than problematic to people as they consume a wide variety of pests like insects, slugs, snails, and even mice.
In fact, some species of shrews are considered venomous to mice and contain a toxic venom in the grooves of their teeth. Venomous mammals are quite rare, and this gives the shrew the advantage of protection when it comes to predators. Furthermore, this venom is deadly to mice and other rodents. In fact, some shrews are capable of killing up to 200 mice a year with this venom.
Are Shrews Dangerous?
Because some shrews are venomous, it’s common to question if they are dangerous to people.
While shrews can show aggression to people if they feel threatened, their bite is not known to be deadly to humans. However, it can be incredibly painful and will certainly require cleaning and medical attention to ensure an infection doesn’t ensue.
We should also note that, though rare, shrews can carry rabies. Furthermore, their bite can transmit bacteria that can lead to serious illness if the wound is not cared for properly.
Outside of this, a shrew’s venom can actually be beneficial to humans from a medical standpoint. In fact, scientists have been able to use shrew venom to help assist with the relief of hypertension, migraines, and even deadly diseases like cancer.
Shrews are territorial animals that prefer to spend time alone. This means that if you’re looking for how to get rid of a shrew in house, you’re likely only looking to get rid of a single shrew. This is, of course, unless the shrew has a litter.
However, this is quite rare. Shrews prefer to live outside where there is an abundance of food and shelter available to them.
If a shrew does get into your home, it has likely done so accidentally or due to vulnerabilities in your home. Having a shrew in your home could also be a sign of other pest issues, as these animals feed on a number of home-invading pests.
Perhaps the most frustrating part about working on how to get rid of a shrew in house is the smell. Shrews are certainly not the most pleasant-smelling animals, and if you have one in your home you’re sure to know it.
With that said, let’s talk about some common signs of a shrew in the home and then move on to tips and tricks for removal.
Common Signs Of A Shrew In House
The Shrew is a stinky animal, thanks to an odor produced by its anal glands.
Though it is possible for a shrew to wind up inside your home, the reality is that these animals prefer to live outdoors. If you do have a shrew in your house, it’s likely the shrew wound up there accidentally and is just as eager to leave as you are to see him go.
The good news about working on how to get rid of a shrew in house is that shrews do not cause structural damage to homes. They typically won’t nest inside your home, though they may seek out food from pantries or cabinets.
Shrews can also wreak havoc in other ways, so it’s important to know the signs of a shrew in your home so you can work on quickly removing them.
Some common signs you might have a shrew in your home or yard include:
A Pungent Odor
As we discussed above, the strongest sign of a shrew in your home is going to be a foul-smelling odor. This odor closely resembles the smell of a skunk and is produced by the shrew’s anal glands.
Though the shrew is a small animal, the odor it can produce is robust. Shrews use this smell to deter predators and to mark their territory.
Another common sign of shrews is going to be shrew droppings. Their feces looks different than the waste of mice, as they are small, dark, and in the shape of a corkscrew.
Remnants Of Eaten Seeds
Shrews not only feed on insects and mice, but they also dine on seeds. These animals especially like plant seeds and bird seeds. If you find remnants of pilfered seeds in or around your home along with a few other telltale signs of shrews, it’s time to look at how to get rid of a shrew in house.
Shrews can leave behind unique tracks in sand or dirt. Though difficult to see, if you know what to look for you may recognize signs of shrew tracks that overlap as the shrew moves about.
Small Holes Or Tunnels In The Yard
Shrews do dig holes in yards and gardens, and while this can be problematic for some homeowners, we should point out that these animals don’t feast on roots or plants. They also cause much less damage than voles or moles.
Still, a common sign of a shrew is going to be small holes or tunnels around your yard. If you think you have a shrew in your house but aren’t sure, take a gander at your yard. Look for signs of shrew activity. If you find activity there, then it is possible that the shrew found its way into your home accidentally.
How To Get Rid Of A Shrew In House – The Best Methods
There are a few methods you can use when it comes to getting rid of shrews.
Working on how to get rid of a shrew in house can be tricky, especially when you realize that these animals may be protected in your region.
Even if shrews are not protected in your region, the best form of removal is to use human trapping, according to experts.
Remember, shrews are highly beneficial and cause very little damage to gardens, homes, and people.
Having a shrew in your garden can actually help deter a wide variety of pests. Furthermore, and as we’ve discussed, a shrew that has wound up in your house has most certainly done so by accident.
Let’s take a look now at the best way to remove and prevent shrews.
Catch And Release Traps
When you catch a shrew, it’s best to release the shrew at least five miles away from your home if you prefer not to have a shrew in your yard.
Though lethal traps are not recommended for how to get rid of a shrew in house, this may be an option for you. Before deciding to use a lethal trap, make sure this method is legal in your area.
You can often use similar lethal traps to those you would use for rodents like mice and rats and bait them accordingly.
Poison bait can be used to trap and kill shrews, though this method could result in you winding up with a dead critter smell in your home. If you do plan on using poison bait to kill shrews, we suggest doing so using a trapping method as well so you can easily locate and remove the dead animal from your home.
Professional Pest Control experts
Because shrew removal can be difficult and sometimes even illegal, one of the best courses of action for you may be to contact a professional. If shrews are protected in your region, certain professional pest control agencies may be licensed to come to your home and trap and remove the shrew safely and legally.
Using Prevention Measures In The Future:
The last step in how to get rid of a shrew in house is going to be preventative. Taking preventative measures to reduce shrew activity in your yard is the easiest and most effective way to reduce the chances of having a shrew in your home in the future.
Products For How To Get Rid Of A Shrew In House
Getting rid of shrews is not easy, but there are products you can purchase to help get the job done.
As we’ve mentioned, there are a few different methods and products you can use for how to get rid of a shrew in house. These methods include the use of catch and release traps. Lethal traps. And baited poisons.
The method that is right for you will depend on your region and whether or not killing shrews is legal in your jurisdiction. To help you out, we have listed a few top-rated products you can use for how to get rid of a shrew in house below.
CaptSure Humane Shrew Trap
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The above trap is ideal for humane catch and release when it comes to how to get rid of a shrew in house. It is so safe it is even used to catch pets like hamsters if they get lost. You can use this trap by baiting it with shrew bait or peanut butter, and wait for your shrew to be captured.
Check this trap often and if you find the shrew inside, proceed with caution. Remember, shrews can be aggressive and will bite if threatened. Use caution when transporting a live shrew and relocating it.
USKICH Lethal Mouse Trap
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The use of a standard lethal mouse trap can also help you when it comes to how to get rid of a shrew in house. Just remember to make sure it is legal in your area to trap and kill shrews before using this method.
The above trap is ideal for this method because it is quick and effective. You can easily bait it and the trap is also reusable.
Best Products For How To Prevent A Shrew In House
Keeping shrews outside is better for everyone – including the shrew!
When it comes to preventing shrews, there are a few repellents that work that may surprise you. Not all “shrew repellents” are going to be targeting shrews.
In fact, the best way to prevent shrews is to get rid of the pests that may have attracted them to your property in the first place.
A shrew’s typical diet includes insects, seeds, nuts, and rodents. This means that the best prevention is going to be the use of a quality pest control product targeting these pests.
We have listed the products we recommend for you to consider below.
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray
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Wondercide pest control spray is a natural pest control product that repels a number of pests including a variety of insects that shrews like to dine on. This product is made with essential oils that not only repel pests but may also help repel shrews.
The spray provides long-term protection and kills pests on contact. It is also safe for people, pets, and the environment and will not harm beneficial insects that you want in your garden.
Wondercide also makes an indoor spray you can use for how to get rid of a shrew in house, which we also recommend for indoor remedies.
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent
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Although shrews are not rodents, they are still repelled by a number of the same things that rodents are repelled by. This includes peppermint oil.
The above all-natural peppermint oil spray by Mighty Mint works wonders when it comes to not only keeping rodents out of your home but shrews as well.
This product can also help repel spiders, roaches, and other insects that can attract shrews. Best of all, this product is completely safe to use in homes where children and pets live and play.
Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of A Shrew In House
You can make your own Shrew traps using buckets and bait.
Working on how to get rid of a shrew in house can be difficult, but thankfully there are a few home remedies and methods you can use as a form of do it yourself pest control if you’re in a bind.
Make A DIY Shrew Trap
Shrews are attracted to a number of household ingredients that you can use as baits if you plan on making your own trap. You can use baits like peanut butter, bacon, pet food, oatmeal, birdseed, and even bits of hot dog.
To make a DIY shrew trap using any of the above bait, you will need a five-gallon bucket, a power drill, 1 thin metal rod, and an empty 1-liter plastic soda or water bottle.
Use your power drill to drill a hole at the cap and the base of the bottle and slip the rod through. Then drill holes on either side of the top of the gallon bucket and place the rod tips on each side. This should make it so the bottle spins easily over the top of the bucket.
Bait the center of the bottle with sticky peanut butter or any of the other above shrew bait suggestions, and fill the bottom of the bucket with a small amount of water. (Do not fill the bucket too high with water if you plan on releasing the shrews you catch). Otherwise, for a lethal method, you can fill the bucket halfway with water.
Shrews will climb the side of the bucket and go for the bait on the bottle only to be dropped into the bucket, where they can’t escape.
Use Essential Oils To Repel Shrews
Another method for how to get rid of a shrew in house is to use repellent odors that shrews hate. Like many pests, shrews cannot stand the smell of a number of essential oils.
We like this approach as it is natural, safe for the environment, and harmless for children, pets and even the shrews.
However, not all essential oils will work in repelling shrews. The best essential oils for shrew repellent include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- And Eucalyptus Oil
To use essential oils for how to get rid of a shrew in house, you have a few options. One option is to use the cotton ball method, which requires you to soak a cotton ball in the essential oil of your choice and leave it in areas you have noticed shrew activity. Replace these cotton balls with newly soaked cotton balls once every three days.
You can also make a shrew repellent spray using 15 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice and combining it with two cups of water in an empty spray bottle.
Spray this solution around your home frequently and focus heavily on areas you have noticed shrew activity.
Using these DIY methods for shrew control will also help repel other pests like spiders, rodents, and insects.
Tips For Keeping Shrews At Bay In The Future
Cats are natural predators of shrews, though they won’t eat them. Still, a cat’s presence alone can help repel them!
Because some species of shrews are actually protected in certain jurisdictions, it may be more realistic for you to work on repelling and preventing shrews than trapping or killing them.
The good news is that there are plenty of methods you can use when it comes to shrew prevention. Take a look.
Invite The Predators
Cats and dogs are natural predators of shrews, with cats being particularly successful at scaring these small mammals away. However, like many predators, cats will often refrain from killing or eating a shrew. This is due to the shrew’s anal glands and the foul smell they produce when threatened.
Along with dogs and cats, other shrew predators include owls, coyotes, fox, and hawks.
Don’t Leave Bird Seed Or Pet Food Outdoors
Shrews have an incredible appetite and can consume their body weight in food over the course of 24 hours. This includes seeds and pet food. To keep shrews away from your home, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors and store birdseed properly.
It’s also important not to leave pet food or birdseed near your home, as this is a sure way to accidentally invite a shrew inside.
Store Trash Bins Properly
Because shrews are omnivores, they will often be attracted to human leftovers in our trash bins. To keep shrews at a distance, be sure you store garbage bins properly. Invest in bins that seal closed and take measures to reduce odors from tossed out foods.
It’s also a good idea not to leave bins outside of your home until it’s time for trash pick up. Not only will this help reduce shrew activity, but it can also help stop other pests like raccoons, ants, and roaches from getting too close for comfort.
Remove Debris And Leaf Litter Around Your Home and Keep Up With Landscaping
Shrews prefer yards where there is plenty of shelter and places for them to hide. To make your yard less hospitable to shrews, it’s important to keep up with routine landscaping. Rake and toss leaf litter and debris and remove piles of wood or gardening materials. Clean up piles of bricks, overturned flower pots, or any other unused equipment that could serve as a shrew hiding place.
It’s also wise to keep your grass mowed short to reduce hiding places or shrews. This will also allow you a better visual to see if shrews have begun digging around your yard so you can work on getting rid of them more quickly.
Remove Excess Water Sources Around Your Home
Excess water sources around your home can attract a variety of insects, and insects can attract shrews.
Refrain from leaving birdbaths, kiddie pools, overturned buckets, or other water sources filled with stagnant water that could attract pests.
Trim Down Overgrown Shrubs Or Bushes Near Your Home’s Siding
A sure-fire way for a shrew to end up in your home is if it begins digging or building a den near your home’s siding.
Shrews will often target overgrown shrubs and bushes to build their shelters, and you can protect yourself and prevent shrews from getting into your home by trimming back bushes and foliage around your property.
It’s also a good idea to keep vegetation at least three feet from your home’s siding to prevent shrews, rodents, and other pests from getting inside.
Repair Vulnerabilities Around Your Home To Keep Pests At Bay
Another way to prevent shrews from getting into your home is to keep your home secure. Keep up with yearly home maintenance and check routinely for vulnerabilities around your house. Repair gaps in sidings, doorways, windows, and caulk and seal potential entry points that could allow shrews and other pests easy access to your home.
Use A Year-Round Pest Control Regiment To Get Rid Of Insects and Rodents
Getting rid of shrew prey is one of the best ways to keep shrews from coming around. To reduce shrew activity around your home, focus on getting rid of other pests like rodents and insects.
The best way to do this is to use a year-round pest control product that targets specific pests like mice, snails, slugs, and other insects shrews are known to consume.
Place Shrew-Friendly Habitats Away From Your Property
Last but not least, if you want to keep a shrew in your garden but away from your home, you can purchase or make shrew-friendly habitats to attract shrews and keep them in a certain area.
When using these habitats, place them far from gardens and especially far from your home. This will help ensure shrews stick around but don’t get too close to your home.
So, what do you think about how to get rid of a shrew in house now that you know more about these interesting animals?
Did you realize shrews weren’t rodents? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.