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Thread: Rare but potentially fatal causes of mortality in rodents

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    Default Rare but potentially fatal causes of mortality in rodents

    This thread is devoted to those rare potential unconfirmed causes of mortality in rodents including squirrels.

    Listed amongst the deadliest mammals on earth, the bite of the Southern short-tailed shrew is lethal to other small mammals like squirrels. In the wild, short-tailed shrews and tree squirrels wouldn't commonly cross paths; yet with squirrels housed where there is access to their cage, they may. At least one member has reported this winter that a shrew had made its way into the bottom tray of their squirrels cage.

    Southern short-tailed shrew
    https://thetarpan.com/poisonous-veno...rttailed-shrew

    "With its grooved incisors, the seemingly calm shrew can deliver a killing bite, with venom that is potent enough to kill 200 mice.

    While that may not be enough to kill a human, it causes pain, swelling, and muscle problems. The shrew’s toxins would cause pains and are not worth vexing a shrew to find out."

    It was just the other day that I learned about the N.A. shrews being venomous to small mammals. Here is more info should you want to learn more on the shrews. Like the Southern short tailed shrew, the Northern short tailed shrew, that inhabits north central and northeastern US into Canada, is also venomous to small mammals. These shrews are active both in the daytime and at night. It is noted that 90 percent of their population doesn't survive the cold of winters. This appears why N.A. shrews may seek shelter in and around warmer human dwellings, perhaps attracted by left out dog or cat food. For this reason, please be aware that if you see a shrew trap and relocate it far enough away from your home.

    https://animalcorner.org/animals/nor...-tailed-shrew/

    "Among mammals, the short-tailed shrew B. brevicauda (Say, 1923) is well known to produce a potent venom in its saliva, which is toxic to mammals, such as mice, voles, rabbits, and cats (1, 3). Human accounts of bites from Blarina describe a local burning sensation around the tooth puncture marks and subsequent swelling (10). In general, soricine shrews consume large amounts of food to meet their high metabolic demands (11). Although they belong to the order Insectivora, B. brevicauda do not eat insects and invertebrates exclusively but also vertebrates, even larger than themselves, such as murid rodents and frogs (1, 11–13). Therefore, this shrew species may use its venom to paralyze and catch larger preys."

    "With a very high metabolic rate that requires shrews to consume animal sourced protein, also requires that they digest it with the support of specific protease compound to digest. This source is located in glands located in their upper and lower jaws that mixes with their saliva. This particular protease source unlike others, is neurotoxic to small animals. And though cats due to their larger size survive shrew bites, the bad bacteria in the shrews mouth, much like that of cats, can result in bite wounds becoming infected."
    Last edited by TubeDriver; 01-12-2022 at 10:01 AM.

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