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How to catch a shrew

Updated February 21, 2019

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.

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  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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.

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

  6. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

  • Mousetrap
  • Glass jar
  • Vole or shrew trap

About the Author

Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.

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