Moles mainly create underground tunnels to feed. On the other hand, shrews scavenge on the surface of lawns. While they can dig their own holes, these pests also use other animals' tunnels to find insects.
Both moles and shrews have dark fur, rounded bodies, and long, pointed snouts. However, moles tend to be bigger than shrews and have large forefeet that turn outward to make digging easier. Their ears and eyes are tiny and often not visible through their fur.
Shrews have smaller feet than moles, and most species have tiny but visible eyes and ears. People are also more likely to actually see a shrew than a mole, as shrews spend more time out of their tunnels.
If large ridges appear in the lawn, the culprit is likely a mole. Holes in lawns about one inch wide may belong to shrews. Like most wild animals, both moles and shrews can bite and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.
While neither pest is aggressive, territorial shrews may come into conflict with dogs or cats in yards. Since some shrew species produce venom, bites can be more painful than those of mice or other animals their size.
Homeowners can remedy mole problems by placing traps underground. To remove shrews, use common rodent-proofing methods like sealing gaps and cracks around homes or removing food sources. Keep in mind that many mouse traps don't work with shrews because the pests are light enough to not trigger the trap.
These differences in shrew vs. mole control mean that identifying the wildlife problem correctly is important. Contact the specialists at Critter Control for help with identifying and removing shrews or moles from the yard.
Known for being the smallest species of mole in North America, shrew moles only grow to be four inches long. They are easily mistaken for shrews because they lack the typical large forelegs of other mole species. Shrew moles also have extremely small eyes and lack external ears. Active throughout the day and night, shrew moles must eat constantly to keep up with their rapid metabolism, sometimes consuming nearly double their body weight in food each day. Their diet consists of earthworms, insect larvae, slugs, and centipedes.
Unlike other species of moles, whose forepaws are situated sideways to help with digging, shrew moles can place their front feet flat on the ground. This allows them to be more agile and to climb low bushes in search of food and places to nest. Shrew mole claws aid in the digging of tunnels that run along the surface of the ground directly under leaf litter. The exits to shrew mole tunnel systems are typically less complex than those of standard mole species and do not resemble characteristic "mole hills."
American shew moles are found from mid-California to the southern cities in British Columbia. Though they prefer the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, they can also survive in the higher elevations of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Shrew moles typically inhabit ravines, as they favor the soft soils found along stream banks and riverbeds, so long as there is enough dense or brushy vegetation in the area to use for cover.
A close relative of shrews are moles. We have but one species of New World mole here: the northern broad-footed mole. (However, there are subspecies, including one on Angel Island.) These animals mostly stay underground. They are supremely adapted for their fossorial world with cylindrical bodies, reduced eyes and ears, small hips, powerful digging front feet (they even have an extra thumb to help), and a pelage (coat) of super-soft, velvety fur. This unique pelage enables the animal to easily go backward within its tight burrow without the hairs catching on the sides of the tunnel. Moleskin, by the way, is a cotton product, not actual mole fur.
Finally, there are shrew moles, which do look like a cross between a shrew and a mole. However, a shrew mole is a mole, the smallest of the American moles. Shrew is an adjective in this case; these moles are dark gray to shiny black, with barely discernible eyes, a bit of a snout, and smaller front feet than those of their close relative the broad-footed mole. While those two moles share many characteristics, the shrew mole spends more time aboveground and is a bit more flexible in its dietary choices: like the shrew, it will even, when desperate, eat vegetation. Unlike the solitary broad-footed mole, shrew moles live in loosely connected groups of 10 or 15. And apparently, they are often found dead in the middle of trails. Right, Stephen?
Recent molecular evidence of genetically distinct hantaviruses in shrews, captured in widely separated geographical regions, corroborates decades-old reports of hantavirus antigens in shrew tissues. Apart from challenging the conventional view that rodents are the principal reservoir hosts, the recently identified soricid-borne hantaviruses raise the possibility that other soricomorphs, notably talpids, similarly harbor hantaviruses. In analyzing RNA extracts from lung tissues of the Japanese shrew mole (Urotrichus talpoides), captured in Japan between February and April 2008, a hantavirus genome, designated Asama virus (ASAV), was detected by RT-PCR. Pairwise alignment and comparison of the S-, M-, and L-segment nucleotide and amino acid sequences indicated that ASAV was genetically more similar to hantaviruses harbored by shrews than by rodents. However, the predicted secondary structure of the ASAV nucleocapsid protein was similar to that of rodent- and shrew-borne hantaviruses, exhibiting the same coiled-coil helix at the amino terminus. Phylogenetic analyses, using the maximum-likelihood method and other algorithms, consistently placed ASAV with recently identified soricine shrew-borne hantaviruses, suggesting a possible host-switching event in the distant past. The discovery of a mole-borne hantavirus enlarges our concepts about the complex evolutionary history of hantaviruses.
Enlarged front feet allow moles to dig underground while shrews do not have enlarged feet and use varied habitat. Moles are specially equipped to live underground and have ears and eyes so small they are not visible.
This shrew is endemic to Oregon. It occurs in the Coast Range from the Pacific Ocean east to Portland and south of the Columbia River down to Corvallis. It also occurs along the west slope of the Cascade Range from the Columbia River south to central Lane County.
This shrew is the largest member of the genus in North America. Truly a water shrew, it swims easily both on the surface and while submerged, mostly by alternate strokes of the hind feet. When leaving the water, it literally springs from the surface.
The Merriam's shrew is the smallest shrew in Oregon. This brownish shrew has a short, truncated skull and is medium dark-brown on the dorsum and pinkish white on the venter; the tail is sharply bicolored in the same tones as the body with dark and light portions about equal.
The Pacific shrew is the only shrew in Oregon without a tine on the anteromedial surface of the first upper incisor but with a posteriomedial ridge visible in anterior view through the gap between the incisors. It is a large brown shrew with the third unicuspid smaller than the fourth.
Preble's shrew is the smallest shrew in Oregon; adults commonly weigh less than a dime. The pelage is medium dark-brown to very dark-gray on the dorsum and silvery gray on the venter. The tail is bicolored, medium dark-brown on the dorsal surface, white on the ventral surface and darkening toward the tip.
The fog shrew is the largest of the brown shrews in Oregon. Its range extends from Taft in Lincoln County east to near the eastern boundaries of Linn and Lane counties (except it is absent in the Willamette Valley) and southward along the west slope of the Cascade Range and in the Coast Range and Siskiyou Mountains. They are found in alder/salmonberry, riparian alder, and skunk cabbage marsh habitats and less often in conifer habitats.
Trowbridge's shrew is a medium-sized shrew, distinguished from other Oregon shrews by its dark-brown or grayish black pelage on both dorsum and venter, and its sharply bicolored tail, white below and dark brown or grayish black above.
The vagrant shrew can be distinguished from all other congeners in Oregon by the combination of the upper unicuspids wider than long in ventral view. It is light medium brown on the dorsum, light pinkish-gray on the sides, and white on the venter, bases of hairs on all three areas are neutral very dark-gray. The tail is weakly bicolored (dark brown over white) in juveniles.
The vagrant shrew occurs throughout the state except in the Columbia Basin. It tends to be more of a generalist than most Oregon shrews in terms of habitat affinities, nevertheless, it usually is found in greatest numbers in moist grassy areas and more open areas with patches of shrubs and deciduous trees.
The shrew-mole is the smallest talpid in Oregon. The pelage is black; the eyes are rudimentary. The tail is about 50 percent of the length of the head and body, fat, sparsely haired, blunt ended, covered with transverse annular rows of scales and tufted.
The American shrew mole (Neurotrichus gibbsii ) is the smallest species of mole. It is the only living member of the genus Neurotrichus and the tribe Neurotrichini. It is also known as Gibb's shrew mole and least shrew mole. It is not closely related to the Asian shrew mole (Uropsilus in Urotrichini). The reason that it is called a "shrew mole" instead of being called either a "shrew" or a "mole" is because of its fur, which is a characteristic of shrews and its large head and heavy dentition, which is characteristic of moles.
When underground shrew-moles can suffer from a low levels of oxygen, high levels of carbon dioxide, and high levels of humidity. In order to cope with these conditions, shrew-moles contain lungs that can hold large volumes and sometimes even more than 20% of their body weight. 041b061a72