Wildlife Damage Control/Mouse or shrew?


Mouse or shrew?
Mouse or shrew?  
With the very cold temps in the NW Chicago area last week, we had two visitors come in our home.  They were very very small- slightly larger than a quarter- and almost black.  They were active during the day- going in and out of the no-touch mouse trap that I had out and eating the peanut butter.  They were too small to trigger the trap. Eventually, I was able to get them on a glue trap.

I have a fear of hantavirus and other rodent borne illnesses.  I know that these were not deer mice, but  not sure if they could have been house mice?  What dangers are there to cleaning up house mouse droppings?  Our exterminator was not sure what these animals were, so I'm nervous.  There was no evidence of mice anywhere else in the home, and baits in the basement were untouched, so he said these two were alone.  

If they were shrews, what concerns if any are there with health?  The only droppings they left were in the sliding glass door track.  They did run behind the Christmas tree, though, and I am afraid they could have climbed the (artificial) tree, or pooped on the tree skirt.  I'm afraid to clean it or stir up dust.  How long would it take for germs in the poop to die?  

I can send a picture of them in the trap- they are stuck, but hopefully you can identify them for me.

Shrews really aren't interested in peanut butter. They are insectivores. I would need to see the face.
YOu can visit http://icwdm.org and search on shrew to see a photo of one. They have very pointed noses. But I strongly suspect to almost certainty, that you have mice. Glue boards are really not necessary. Get some real traps, like snap traps. Tips on their control can be found below. You could also have voles. Same techniques would apply.


While noone can say your disease risk is zero. It is pretty low. CDC.gov will have details on hanta. I am not aware of any diseases that affect humans associated with shrews.  

Wildlife Damage Control

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Stephen M. Vantassel


I can assist the public in responding to all kinds of wildlife related problems in the United States and Canada, including birds, mice, rats, skunks, raccoons, beavers, opossums, voles, moles, chipmunks, woodchucks, pocket gophers, and more. Please note that I specialize in vertebrates only, (animals with a backbone). While learning about insects, other experts should be consulted with insect questions. My passion is wildlife damage identification, for if you don't know what animal is causing the problem, you can't begin to resolve it responsibly. My latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd edition (2012). It is available at my site http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com or by visiting my various vendors. (A simple internet search on the book's title will bring you to them).


I was a full time animal damage controller for over 5 years and a part-time animal damage controller for over 10. I have been a volunteer for AllExperts.com for over 5 years under the Pest Control Category, when they graciously created a new category that better suited my experience (I don't answer bug questions). I was a licensed animal controller in both Massachusetts, Connecticut and Nebraska. I presently run the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://icwdm.org and http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com.

National Wildlife Control Operators Association, Community Integrated Pest Management group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I have published multiple books, including The Wildlife Removal Handbook rev. ed. and the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd ed. Additionally, I have written dozens of articles which have appeared in Wildlife Control Technology Magazine, Fur-Fish & Game, The Trapper, The Fur Taker, The Probe, and others. I have co-authored wildlife related publications for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program and was responsible for revising the handbook designed for the Pest Controllers looking to obtain their category 14 license.

I was a trapper education instructor for the state of Massachusetts, and have attended a variety of conferences and trainings, including but not limited to Vertebrate Pest Conference, Wildlife Damage Management Conference, National Wildlife Control Association national conference, Wildlife Control Technology Conference. I have not only attended these meetings but have also been privileged to have been a speaker. I have received the National Wildlife Control Operators Association Educator of the Year Award in 2008 and 2012.

Awards and Honors
Certified Wildlife Control Operator (2001), Academy Certified Professional (2008), Master NWCOA Instructor (2012)

Past/Present Clients
I have helped thousands of people around the U. S. through my work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Wildlife Control Consultant. Specific tasks include: Ghost writing, Research, Expert Witness, Writing Training Manuals, Public speaking at Conferences, Workshops, and Trainings

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