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Shrew Talk

"SHREW TALK" - Vol. 3, No. 04 - 19 March 1999

SHREW TALK - 19 March 1999 - Vol. 3, No. 04
Number of Recipients: > 510
Contents of this Issue
o Research
1. Rodent and insectivore sponsors, India (S. Walker)
2. Space usage (capture-recapture) monitoring in Russia (N. A. Shchipanov)
3. Small mammals and meteorological factors (J. Milks)
4. Blarina brevicauda: B. carolinensis and B. hylophaga (J. Choate)
5. Looking for photos for "The Mammals of South Dakota" (D. Backlund)
6. IUCN/SSC-List (M. Sadowski, IUCN)
7. Ugglan Special multiple capture traps and new web-site (W. Haberl)
8. Re: Removing ectoparasites from captive small mammals (M. Smith)
o Miscellaneous
1. Rotterdam Natural History Museum Web-Site
2. Gordon Kirkland
3. Will's Skull Page
4. TV show research question
o Shrew Leisure
1. Cartoon: Why So Many Shrew Couples Break Up
2. Shrew Dictionary: "Chinese money mouse"
o Introductions: New members
o Shrew Talk Instructions
Replies to the following messages should be sent as CC-Mail to Shrew Talk <shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at> """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
1) Rodent and insectivore sponsors, India (S. Walker)
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 23:31:02 +0530 (IST)
To: ssc-members@indaba.iucn.org
From: "Sally Walker, Z.O.O./CBSG, India/ARNIZE" <zooreach@giasmd01.vsnl.net.in>
Subject: Rodent and insectivore sponsors
Dear All: In 1997 we conducted a mammal CAMP for India covering the 400 odd species of Indian mammals. There were many DD rodents and insectivores. I want to network rodent and insectivore field biologists in India and engineer preparedness for another exercise for rodents and insectivores only (there are just over 100). I am looking for a sponsor for this network as well as technical advisors. Zoo Outreach Organisaiton runs very effective networks for Indian and South Asian amphibians and invertebrates. We got a sponsor for a chiroptera network which we are about to launch. Any information about rodent and insectivore specialists with a soft corner for India will be appreciated.
With my very best wishes, Sally Walker
Zoo Outreach Organisation/Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, CBSG, India Asian Regional Network of International Zoo Educators Box 1683, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 004 India
Phones 91 422 563 159; 561 087 Fax 91 422 563 269
Our Websites are all "in process" but you may like to check them out anyway:
1. CBSG, India : CAMP PHVA Results -- http://members.xoom.com/ZOOIndia/
2. ZOO, ZOOS' PRINT, ZOO ZEN -- http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/6883
3. History of Zoos and Nat Hist in India http://members.tripod.com/~SPHOZANHI
4. About Sally Walker personally and the Asian Regional Network of International Zoo Educators
http://members.tripod.com/~Sally Walker
2) Space usage (capture-recapture) monitoring in Russia (N. A. Shchipanov)
Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 20:00:41 +0300 Organization: MSU
We are a group of Russian scientists conducting investigations on small mammals in the forests on Upper Volga, Tverskaia region, 250 km from Moscow. We have sufficient field equipment for capture-recapture and for maintaining of shrews in captivity. Special technique for trapping (original life-trap, regime of trapping etc.) provide to accept large primary data. We have over half a thousand of individually marked shrews of four species (Sorex araneus, S.caecutiens, S.minutus and S.isodon) under surveillance per year. Some of the marked animals observed from the previous years for 14 months. Observations on the field station conducted since 1995. We are looking for mutual grants, collaboration, and are able to accept several students. Unfortunately this is a field station and anybody who decided to work there will need some field equipment (tents and sleeping bags), but because of this it would not be expensive. If somebody interesting in this suggestion you are welcome to visit us. Please kindly send an information for further communication to the addresses below.
Sincerely Yours
Dr. Nikolai A. Shchipanov
Dr. Alexey A. Kalinin
Tatiana B. Demidova
E-mail:Kalinin@orc.ru shchipa@orc.ru
Ola@herba.msu.ru (for Demidova)
Severtzov's Ecology & Evolution Institute Rus. Sci. Acad. Leninskii prosp. 33 Moscow 117071 Russia
3) Small mammals and meteorological factors (J. Milks)
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 19:26:23 -0500
From: "Jim Milks" <jmilks@andrews.edu>
Dear Shrewists,
I'm attempting to find papers that examined the relationships (if any) between small mammals (especially Microtus and Blarina) and meteorological factors, such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, etc. I've found two papers (both from 1961), but neither of them actually examined meteorological data such as what I described.
Thank you for any suggestions you may have.
Sincerely, Jim Milks
James R. Milks Dept. Tel: (616)471-3243 Graduate Student Dept. Fax: (616)471-6911 Biology Department WWW: http://www.biol.andrews.edu/ Andrews University E-mail1: jmilks@andrews.edu Berrien Springs, MI 49104 E-mail2: jrmilks@yahoo.com ICQ #: 14477315
4) Blarina brevicauda: B. carolinensis and B. hylophaga (J. Choate)
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 09:43:17 -0600
From: Jerry Choate <jchoate@TIGER.FHSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Weather variables on small mammals
Jim-- I can't help you with respect to the effects of weather phenomena on these mammals. However, I can offer you a word of caution.
Nearly all the literature that has been published on the three currently recognized species of shrews of the genus Blarina has used the species name B. brevicauda. However, it now is known that some of that research actually related to the species B. carolinensis and B. hylophaga. I suggest that you refer to the following paper for information on this:
Genoways, H. H., and J. R. Choate. 1998. Natural history of the southern short-tailed shrew, Blarina carolinensis. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Southwestern Biology, 8:1-43.
Good luck in your research. --Jerry
5) Looking for photos for "The Mammals of South Dakota" (D. Backlund)
From: "Backlund, Doug" <dougb@gfp.state.sd.us>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 99 10:37:00 PST
We are nearing completion of a book titled "The Mammals of South Dakota". This book will feature a color photo of every species of mammal in the state, we hope. The difficulty is finding good pictures of shrews. We are in need of high quality, original slides of the following species:
Cryptotis parva Blarina brevicauda Sorex haydeni Sorex cinereus Sorex hoyi Sorex nanus Sorex palustris Sorex merriami Sorex arcticus
We are willing to pay a fee for the use of slides. The book will be distributed free of charge, so this is not a money making project. If you can help us out, please contact me.
Doug Backlund Resource Biologist South Dakota Natural Heritage Program South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks 523 E. Capitol-Foss Bldg. Pierre, SD 57501
6) IUCN/SSC-List (M. Sadowski, IUCN)
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 15:53:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Maria Sadowski <msadowski@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Re: IUCN/SSC-List
"A reminder to SSC members - join the SSC Members Listserv to participate in discussions, receive notices about upcoming plans and meetings, and get connected to other members. Email ssc@hq.iucn.org for more information."
Dear Werner, I'm a regular visitor to the Shrew site (as is Ruth Barreto, Dave Brackett's assistant), and have meant for a long time to send my congratulations on a very well done site. It is both informative and supremely hilarious (we've particularly enjoyed many shrew cartoons and a shrew song or two!)
We'll keep trying to get more ssc members to use our site in the ways we all hoped it would be used. Please keep up the great work on your site, as it is one I often point to when promoting Specialist Group work.
Putting an Action Plan on-line is quite a bit of work. I'm sure that your members and others will appreciate the effort. Perhaps you have heard of a new initiative SSC is undertaking with IUCN's Information Management Group and Publications Services Unit called "The World Conservation Digital Library." This project will make IUCN publications (including all Action Plans) available on-line (or via CD-ROM for those who can't afford or don't have reliable Web access). SSC publications will serve as the initial pilot project, which we have optimistically planned to complete by the end of this year (simply writing that makes me a bit nervous!)
At any rate, it will be a great help for us to have your Action Plan already on-line, as then it will be easier and quicker to get it incorporated into the Digital Library. So please keep up the good work; we often don't get the chance to thank SSC members for all that they do, and to help them share the information they gather through Action Plans. Hopefully the Digital Library will help rectify this.
Finally, by all means use my letter if you think it will be of any help. We'd love to have more people signed on and sharing information via the Listserv, so will welcome any SSC members who want to participate.
Best to you, Maria
P.S. I probably shouldn't have laughed at the news that shrews can literally be frightened to death by loud noises. But I laughed anyway. Has someone really tested this theory?
Maria Sadowski Communications and Fundraising Associate IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) c/o: Brookfield Zoo Brookfield, IL 60513 USA Tel: 1/708/485-0263 ext. 487 Fax: 1/708/485-6320 Email: msadowski@igc.apc.org WWW: http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc
Note by W. Haberl (shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at): The ITSES Action Plan is online at: http://members.vienna.at/shrew/itses.html ______________________________________________________________________
7) Ugglan Special multiple capture traps and new web-site (W. Haberl)
From: Werner Haberl <shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at>
I just returned from the field and read the discussion on Mammal-L about the pros and cons of multiple capture traps.
I have been using the "Ugglan Special Mouse Trap", which were recommended to me by Heikki Hentonnen and Brent Danielsen (last year's discussion on traps), for two trapping periods now and am very satisfied. Their mechanism is a single gravity controlled treadle which is sensitive enough to catch pygmy shrews, Sorex minutus, and they are easy to clean. The traps are handmade by a small family business in Sweden and the price is nice. The trap comes in three different models also fitting the larger of the small mammals. For a study at the Biological Station Lake Neusiedl I am currently successfully using a set of 100 Ugglans to catch Sorex minutus, S. araneus, Microtus subterraneus, Apodemus sylvaticus and Micromys minutus. The traps work perfectly for these species. "Multiple capture" was not the reason for my choice of traps. In order to prevent shrew mortality we control traps frequently. This reduces the chance of getting multiple captures, but we have already captured up to 3 mice on some occasions. If multiple captures are not desired, stuffing more bedding than usual in the back of the trap would in most cases block the entrance when the animal disturbs it.
I have also discovered that prebaiting or temporarily unsetting is easily done by simply turning the trps upside down, which causes the swinging treadle to leave the entrance open. As bait (or better as a supply of food for the captured animals) I have used meal worms and sunflower seeds rolled into the cotton wool bedding. This prevents the Tenebrio larvae to crawl out of the trap. The way I see it, multiple capture traps methodologically have the advantage that you need not worry about calculating trapping success by subtracting the number of occupied traps from the total number. If you are working with a set of 100 traps you will always have 100 open traps, of course disregarding trap avoidance due to social behaviour. On the other hand a multiple capture can give you valuable information about social interactions.
There are photos of the traps and a contact address on the Ugglan Special homepage:
<A HREF="http://www.tapirback.com/ugglan/grahnab-ugglan.html">Ugglan Special Traps</A>
If anybody else has used these traps and has more tips, please share your experience with me.
8) Re: Removing ectoparasites from captive small mammals (M. Smith)
From: v8350@bealenet.com
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 16:24:45 -0800
Subject: Bug patrol
STereza had suggestions for insect control on shrus and other small mammals. It is a judgement call which method to use, depending on how bad the infestation is and how well the animal can be handled. With bats, particularly, one is dealing with the twin problems of their great sensitivity to chemicals and the extreme delicacy of their wing structure and skin. Boric acid powder is what she suggests using to kill the fleas/mites. The reason for that choice is that the boric acid dries the insect's bodies out, killing them, rather than actually being a toxin. One must be very careful to prevent the animal from inhaling the powder - it is damaging to the lungs. Wrapping the animal's head in a cloth and applying the powder in small amount, then gently brush the excess off should minimise this danger. Her other suggestion is to gently wash one portion at a time of the animal's body with warm water while holding over warm water, so the fleas fall and drown, drying as one goes, to prevent chills. (This would have to be done with great care to not drop the animal into the water, thereby creating a whole different priority!) She suggested an Intradent toothbrush might be useful to brush them out also. From my own occasional experience with livestock on wilds, I've found that putting the animal into non-infested quarters after flea removal is a great part of the battle. I have a new container set up before doing the removing and do not put it in proximity to the one the animal has been in. Disposables for bedding: layers of paper napkins for flooring, shredded kleenex or soft toilet paper for nesting material and more napkins on top of the nest stuff to help retain heat. All paper goods are white and unscented. When the animal is groomed/cleaned, it goes into the new container and the contents of the old container are thrown away. Cardboard boxes are impossible to clean, so I just throw them out.
1) Rotterdam Natural History Museum Web-Site
From: "J.W.F.Reumer" <reumer@nmr.nl>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 21:15:50 +0100
I just visited the Shrew Site (for the first time, I'm ashamed of so much ignorance). There are two remarks I would like to make (and many contributions will certainly follow as I will visit the site often).
The list of "Shrewists on E-mail" could perhaps be put in an alphabetical order, which makes it more easy to overlook. Anyway you may add my name and address (Jelle W.F. REUMER, Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, P.O.Box 23452, NL-3001 KL Rotterdam, Netherlands, phone +31 10 436 42 22, fax +31 10 436 43 99, e-mail museum reumer@nmr.nl, e-mail private reumer@quicknet.nl). The museum has a web-site: www.nmr.nl that can be visited.
Compliments and best wishes,
Jelle W.F. Reumer Natuurmuseum Rotterdam P.O.Box 23452 NL-3001 KL Rotterdam Netherlands
2) Gordon Kirkland
From: "J.W.F.Reumer" <reumer@nmr.nl>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 21:15:50 +0100
I am - as we all are - struck by the untimely passing away of Gordon Kirkland. I remember staying in his home in 1990 together with Frans Ellenbroek, after the Shrew Meeting in the Powdermill Station that was organized by Joe Merritt and that resulted in the book "Advances in the Biology of Shrews". Gordon took us on a wonderful trip in the PA coutryside and we had a great Barbecue in his garden. What a shame he is no longer with us.
Jelle W.F. Reumer
3) Will's Skull Page
From: Rnorv@aol.com
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 03:50:33 EST
I have enjoyed using your site as a valuable source of info, and have a link to it from my own mammalogy site. Perhaps you would like to view it, and maybe add a link from the shrew (ists) site ?
My url is : http://members.aol.com/rnorv/index.htm
Thanks Will Higgs (UK)
Will's Skull Page http://members.aol.com/rnorv/Shrews/shrews.htm
4) TV show research question
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 10:43:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Carrie Havel <c_tuppie@yahoo.com>
Subject: TV show research question
My name is Carrie Havel, and I am a researcher for the television quiz show "Win Ben Stein's Money" in Los Angeles. I ran across your site on the internet, and I first must compliment you--I had no idea there was so much to know about such a tiny animal. We were thinking about asking a question dealing with shrews on our show, and thus I was hoping you could help me either verify or discredit some information I've recently found. Since we strive to be 100% factual in the material we present, we try to go to the highest source in confirming material--so I am hoping you will share some of your shrew expertise with me. I have read in several places that the "white-toothed pygmy shrew" is the smallest living terrestrial mammal. On your website, however, you report that the "bumblebee bat" is the smallest. Does this still hold true, even when compared to the pygmy shrew? Secondly, I also read somewhere that the white-toothed pygmy shrew has the shortest life span of all mammals. I've had some trouble finding anyone in the U.S. who can confirm that. Do you by any chance know if that is true? I would really appreciate any information you can offer. Thanks so much for your time.
Carrie Havel "Win Ben Stein's Money"
1) Cartoon: Why So Many Shrew Couples Break Up
Note by W. Haberl: To understand the following needs some background info: Ronald Safsten recently sent me a most hilarious cartoon as e-mail attachment, which arrived at my computer as 89 pages of computer language. We finally managed to transfer it as a picture. You should really take a look at this cartoon at:
From: "Ronald Safsten" <Ronald.Safsten@educate.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 14:12:15 -0700
Subject: Why So Many Shrew Couples Break Up
If you like this and can figure out a way to use this on your newsletter (or as a wall-sized fresco, or whatever), you're welcome to it. As you might imagine, there's a rather limited audience for "shrew humor." My wife certainly doesn't see anything funny about this, possibly because she identifies with the female in the illustration. And possibly the most amusing thing about this is the incredible difficulty I had trying to figure out how to send this more than 20 feet through the computer. Anyway, I hope this comes into your domain in a somewhat more compact form than that recent 89 pages of gibberish adventure.
With almost nauseous humility I modestly affirm that it was my No. 2 pencil that caused all the damage. You have no idea how difficult it is to get shrews to sit still long enough for this kind of sketch. No disclaimer is necessary, unless you think we may have problems with the Anti-Anthropomorphic Animal Rights League. --ron
2) Shrew Dictionary: "Chinese money mouse"
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 17:17:14 +0800
About how shrew is called in Chinese. In Mandarin is Chien Shu
In Taiwanese is Chin Chih
Both means "money" and "mouse or rat". This is because the noise that shrew make sounds like the Chinese pronunciation of money. In Taiwan, a shrew at one's home should never be killed. The presence of the small animal means money coming. If you kill the shrew that entered your house, you cut off the source of money, ie. fortune.
Luis M. Chong L. Lab. of Entomology Dept. of Biology, CNSC P.O. Box 30-250 Taipei, Taiwan, China E-mail: lmchong@netscape.net lmchong@hotmail.com
Michael J. Patrick Department of Biology The Pennsylvania State University 3000 Ivyside Park Altoona, PA 16601-3760
o Last BIG Update: 8 January 1998
o Number of Visitors (Date: 19 March 1999): >15264
o Number of "Shrewists on E-mail": >261
o Number of recipients: >510

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Email: shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at URL: http://members.vienna.at/shrew (The Shrew (ist's) Site)
The Shrew Bibliography (> 6000 references) (available on CD ROM) ==================================================================

This web site was created by
Dr. Werner Haberl. Address: Hamburgerstrasse 11, A-1050 Vienna, Austria.
E-mail: shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
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