Simon Walker's picture

Dead Water Shrew

Observed: 30th July 2012 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in MammalsSimon Walker’s reputation in MammalsSimon Walker’s reputation in Mammals
Shrew, Water, Old Warden Quarries, 2012-07-30 002
Shrew, Water, Old Warden Quarries, 2012-07-30 001
Description:

This is just one of several dead shrews I've found in the last few months. They've been in various places - two common and two water shrews. I don't know what they died of, but I'm wondering if it's mink. No obviouse wounds though.
This one was in grassland close to a flooded quarry.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Fenwickfield's picture

weather

I think it is the weather as they need more food to keep warm,also there nests being flooded.I would have thought they would have been eaten if it had been mink the only animal that seem's to kill just for the sake of it is cat's oh and human's

Sheila

Fenwickfield

Simon Walker's picture

Aha!

Hi Sheila.

Apparently they have glands that make them taste about as good as my cooking. So my thinking was, mink grabs W.S., kills it, finds nasty taste in its mouth, dumps it. Makes more sense then.

Regards

Fenwickfield's picture

never knew Simon

I did not know that very interesting I wonder if they taste horrible to birds too,it's amazing what you learn on ispot

Sheila

Fenwickfield

the naturalist man's picture

Tasting of the shrew

All British shrews have a gland which produces a foul tasting liquid, which is also thought to be used in attracting a mate - no accounting for taste!

Even so many predators do eat them, especially owls. The predator most commonly turned off my the taste is cat; therefore, I agree that cat is our prime suspect in this murder mystery!

However, that is assuming this is a case of murder, it could also be death by natural causes as shrews are very susceptible to heart failure and hypothermia. If they are caught out in the cold and/or rain they often die. Also they have to eat almost continuously so easily starve to death, again especially on cold, wet nights.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Simon Walker's picture

Cat? What Cat?

Good morning, Graham.
Hm. Two of my shrews were common, two water. So they all taste like my cooking, do they?
They were scattered around in different places, but all a good distance from habitation. Some were in places where I know there are a mink, but I've never seen a cat in any of them.
We can't get a conviction without a suspect! So it's going to have to be murder by person or persons unknown...

Regards

Fenwickfield's picture

murder

I would have said murder by paws unknown ;)

Sheila

Fenwickfield

Simon Walker's picture

Ho Ho Ho

That's a TERRIBLE joke, Sheila. I still laughed though!

the naturalist man's picture

Paws for thought (sorry!)

OK...if murder then it does sound as though it would be wise to pull the mink in for questioning - though I'd still like to question any cat within a five mile radius just because they are likely to be guilty of some wildlife crime!

If there are at least four dead shrews, presumably found within a short period of time, it sounds more likely to be natural causes, i.e. this awful weather we've been having. For all their faults mink are highly intelligent and I doubt having discovered one shrew tasted nasty they would attempt another. They are territorial and hold large territories so again it is unlikely, but not impossible, that four different mink each attacked one shrew near your home and you found the remains.

Short of a necropsy (animal autopsy) I think these deaths will have to go on the cold case shelves.

I'm now off to watch re-runs of CSI, Cold Case, Morse, Frost and any other crime drama I can get my hands on to do some more research into this case!

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

noelbats's picture

Nice. Ciontrast between upper

Nice. Ciontrast between upper and lower sides is characteristic