The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update


February 28, 2014

Verna Davis: Don't engage in shrewish behavior

The first time I ever heard of a shrew was years ago when my husband and I lived in Southern Illinois. We were eating lunch with some friends, Jerry and Faye, being entertained with Jerry's telling of how he had chased a shrew out from a pile of leaves and cornered it in his garage.

After he finished, I asked, "What's a shrew?" I found out that a shrew is a tiny creature that looks like a mouse with a pointed nose and a much shorter tail. I asked, "What's a shrew eat?" Jerry's answer? "Shrewded wheat."

Once I had my own encounter with a shrew. It was hiding under a pile of leaves at the corner of my garage, and when it scurried out, I could tell by the pointy nose and short tail it was a shrew, not a mouse. The ugly thing had the nerve to sit there, at the edge of my driveway, staring boldly at me. But those beady eyes — too much like the eyes of a mouse for my taste — were my undoing. I screamed (naturally) and that little shrew and I ran in opposite directions. I'm not sure who was faster!

I did some Internet research to see how we could rid ourselves of shrews. I learned shrews have a ridiculously high metabolism rate and eat 80-90 percent of their body weight every day. (Is wrong to be jealous of the eating habits of such a small creature?)

Without going into too many details (these are family newspapers, after all), a typical shrew is more prolific than a bunny rabbit. A typical shrew litter is five to seven "shrewettes" and a female shrew can have up to ten litters a year! That means I could have hundreds of the little creatures living in, under, around, beside my garage, which is dangerously attached to my house!

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