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280 days of Urbpandemonium #164

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With the cameras I'm using on this project, I really didn't expect to include many mammals. I REALLY didn't expect to include a small swift mammal like this northern short-tailed shrew Blarina brevicauda.*

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These animals might look like small rodents but they are actually very active predators who sometimes kill and eat mice and voles. The are also known to eat small snakes. More often they tackle insects and earthworms, stunning prey with toxic saliva.

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Among shrews they are large, robust, blunt-nosed, and more likely to feed on vertebrates. They are omnivores that I sometimes encounter as non-target bycatch at rodent traps (meaning they are attracted to peanut butter). They produce foul smelling secretions from anal glands--often cats or foxes will kill them, but then refuse to eat the unappetizing creature. Presumably the defensive odor protects them in some circumstances.

*"Blarina" is a Latinization of Blair, Nebraska, where the animal was first described and named. "Brevicaudata" means short tail.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
arashiss
Sep. 5th, 2015 03:34 pm (UTC)
nice
kryptyd
Sep. 5th, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
I love shrews, I like amusing myself by thinking about how terrifying they'd be if they were enormous. Way scarier than anything we currently have! I've only ever seen dead ones unfortunately.
live_momma
Sep. 6th, 2015 03:25 pm (UTC)
We got one in the house late last summer. One of my cats did eat it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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