Last weekend, I decided to try to move my HD Mammal Box across the lane to swap it with a standard res one, where a Water Shrew had been visiting. This was very much a surprise visitor and quite unusual one, so I wanted to capture some better footage of it. My Mammal Box HD is using a little Vivotek IP camera and needs a Cat5 cable. I had to run about 50m of cable from my office, around the house, up into a tree, across the lane, back down a tree and then in a channel under the ground, to set it all up…. but I knew it would be worth it if the Water shrew continued to visit.
The Mammal Box that was already in situ was the same as this new one with the Vivotek inside, but I did expect a short pause in visits, as this different box would have smelt different.. but I didn’t have to wait for long.
The Water shrew came back within a day, but it was often rather a ‘grab & go’ affair. He would squeeze in, grab a seed or suet pellet and then leave the box to eat it. Only when there was very little food left, would he hang around, searching for something. Midweek, I put some dried mealworms in as well.
As it has been come more accustomed to the set up, it has starting to stay and eat, giving me a wonderful chance to have a close look at this amazing little mammal. Its dense coat, dark on top and pale underneath is stunning. Its toes are like little paddles, flattened to aid swimming (although no water course near me!).
I have also been able to capture some exciting video clips.
I am pretty sure my footage of wild Water shrews is pretty unique! What is also fascinating is to see what it is eating; sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, suet pellets and the dried mealworms, which did not surprise me. I will be offering some live mealworms soon as well (if I can stop them wriggling away!)
It is not just the Water Shrew that is visiting though…. I am also getting Pygmy and Common shrews as well as my Wood mice and Bank voles…. not bad for an overgrown bank next to my garage port!!