Flora and fauna – no taming these

No taming these!

I’m not expecting many ‘likes’ for this because we tend to shy away from small, fast, furry things with four legs but here goes. 

This winter, for the first time, I sprinkled mealworms on the ground below the bird table; robins, blackbirds and thrushes love them. But the tasty morsels also attracted another visitor I wasn’t expecting: the shrew. There are three types in the U.K., common, pygmy and water shrews, the pygmy shrew being our smallest mammal at just 5.5cm. If you ever do any walking in rough grassland you may well have heard a high pitched, argumentative squeaking in the grass…these are shrews arguing over territory.

They are VERY fast movers (their speed accounts for the dubious quality of my photographs) and need to eat 2 to 3 times their body weight in worms, beetles and other insects each day to survive.

Those visiting my mealworms were either the common or pygmy variety …try measuring one! though on a couple of occasions I have seen water shrews in our area (bigger with blackish back and white belly). One once swam over and nicked some of my maggots when I was fishing in Birch Vale Lodge!

So good luck, and keep your eyes/ears peeled!


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