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The Shrew Methods Pages

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Caution / Please note:

The following traps and trapping methods are for scientific use only. Trapping shrews and many other small mammals is illegal. In order to trap animals, you will need a special permit issued by the governmental institution in charge of your country's wildlife management.


Trap Types:

Trapping Methods:

1) The "Ugglan" Live Trap


The "Ugglan Special" traps, produced and exported by GRAHNAB (Sweden), are wire mesh traps equipped with an aluminium roof for sun and rain protection and a bottom plate fabricated of plastic to prevent frost injuries and for ease of cleaning. They are constructed with a tramp plate, a tip function and a catch cage to hold bait and bedding . The trap mechanism is not spring loaded, but gravity controlled. This mechanism is not subject to accidental setting off and makes it possible to catch several animals with one trap (multiple capture). The catch cage provides for excellent ventilation and enough space to keep the mammals alive. The mesh is galvanized three times to resist oxidation. The traps are as small and light as possible, for easy transport to the field and study areas.

There are three different models suitable to a large range of small mammals, each with its' own design features.

See more pictures and details at:

2) The "Sherman" Live Trap

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3) The "Longworth" Live Trap

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4) Pitfall Traps

5) Other Live Trap Models (Polish and Czech Models)

Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 22:20:39 +0200
From: (Teodora Minkova and Roussi Roussev)
Subject: Re: shrew traps-4

Here is the general view of the first trap. This model is used in Bulgaria and is based on a Polish prototype.


This is the inside view of the first model.

This is the general view of the second model, which is used by the Czech colleagues from Charles University.


This is the inside view of the second model.

(Graphics by T. Minkova © 2000)

Trapping American Water Shrews (Sorex palustris)
by Donald L. Rubbelke

To: (The Shrew Shrine)
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 12:08:45 -0500

Years back I conducted a survey of water shrews for the Minnesota non-game wildlife program.  We used traditional trap grids and some floating traps.  After over 2000 trap nights in a variety of lakeside and stream habitats, we managed to capture only 2 animals.  Both animals were caught within 1 meter of a stream.

Since then, I have used a more select method of live-trap placement along streams where signs indicate potential for water shrews.  I also switched my bait from traditional shrew mixes to minnows.  Longworth traps are employed with a single sheet of paper towel and a minnow or two placed in each.  I then check traps at 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. to assure  trapped animals are in good health.  The minnow provides food and the paper towel absorbs water to prevent hypothermia-induced death via continuous contact with the metal trap.

This technique has proven to be very effective for obtaining live animals.  In 10 years I have been able to capture 1 water shrew, on average, for every 25 traps placed.  On a single  night two years ago, I caught 4 animals with 24 traps.  Of the 20 plus animals I obtained with this method, all were in good health with a single exception being a stressed, young animal that died the day after trapping.  I typically use these live animals for several days to demonstrate photoelectric photography applications in my Biological Field Photography class at the University of Minnesota Itasca Field Station.  The animals are returned to sites of capture.

To secure traps along a vertical stream interface where undercut banks hide trail systems I bent wire rods in an elongated "U" shape.  These were inserted into the bank to support the traps-one only needs a single strong rubber band or two around the trap to hold it to the wire.  Waders are a necessity as I work from the stream to place traps rather than from the bank.

(Graphic by D. Rubbelke © 2001)


All traps introduced on this website must comply with scientific standards. Advertisements are accepted under following conditions:

Contact: The Shrew Shrine

This web site was created by
Dr. Werner Haberl. Address: Hamburgerstrasse 11, A-1050 Vienna, Austria.