Taming of the shrew…

This post really came upon us as a surprise of sorts.  Over the winter Jack in particular has taken a liking to hunting out burrowing things under the snow and ground.  Must be the latent terrier we figured.  Then we saw a blossoming of our fox friends in the yard and area.

She's hunting for something...

Thought this was cute on Jack’s part but until we actually started finding little carcasses around the yard and area, we weren’t aware of the numbers of these little things that carry on under the snow and tunnel in the ground.

Heck , using the old snow-thrower the other day one ugly spud ran out just in time to be saved from the mighty jaws of death and it was ugly, the shrew that is.

Short tailed shrew

As these are new to us we did some research and found out that these are the only mammal on PEI that have poison/venom in their saliva.  That answered two things, one was why do the foxes, who feed heavily on these little critters jump back like they are surprised when they dig into holes or snow like the one above…. and two we’ll have to keep closer checks on the pups as they can cause paralysis and even death on older dogs depending on their size……

Now here’s the kicker.  Research is continuing into shrew “spit” being another main research tool into a cure for cancer.  It has already been registered by drug research companies…..who would have thought?

Links you might find interesting ;

http://childreninnaturepei.ca/theshrews

http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=25

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/05/24/shrew-saliva-cancer.html

………………………

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