March 23, 2002

Turn of the Shrew?

While hiking throught the woods I noticed some leaves rustling like there was someone small moving underneath them. I walked up to the leaves slowly taking care to place my feet down gently. Most small animals are very sensitive to vibrations, since it often indicates the presence of a larger preditor near by.

As I peered into the leaves they continued to move and I caught glimpses of fur passing through openings in the leaf litter. I still could not make out what was moving under the leaves. I slowly picked off a couple of the leaves and in a few moments I could see who the busy body was underneath.

It was a shrew. They have pointed noses, splayed feet and very dense fur. And they have tiny, almost useless eyes. This little guy couldn't see me, but he new something was amiss because the leaves had moved and suddely there was much more light around. He tried to duck under some more of the leaves, but left his rump hanging out.

Shrews have vorasious appetites and are fierce preditors. The eat mostly invertibrates. The one that I found was probably hunting for earthworms. Shrews are active during both night and day.

I don't have any photos of shrews, and I think that when I get my camara back I may stalk some more moving leaves and see if I can find another one to photograph.

May 24, 2002

May 22, 2002