More Encounters With Common Wildlife

I saw a shrew! (Well, I’m pretty sure it was a shrew. Could have been a very small mole.)

I had just come out of the house to go sell some used books when I saw motion in the leaves. I took a few steps forward and beheld a small gray furry creature a little bigger than a large mouse (not quite the size of an adult rat, but significantly heftier than a field mouse.) It was sort of flat and shapeless in the body, with a pointy snout, short, naked tail and no visible eyes, and it did not move like I somehow expected a shrew to move. It was not spastic. It trundled through the leaves with a very deliberate sort of scurrying. It lumbered as well as something that weighs a few ounces at best can lumber. It was a small mammal with personal gravity. You could imagine it muttering to itself as it trundled, reciting its grocery list to itself or grumbling about the deplorable state of traffic in the leaves. This was a mammal on a mission.

From the way it moved, I’d intially thought it was a mole, but it seems unlikely above ground, and the field guide suggests that it was a Southern Short Tailed Shrew. Which is awesome! They secrete poison in their salivary glands! How cool is THAT?

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