I was reading your article on shrews and was able to identify with most of it (now I know what that smell is) – although I can’t seem to find how they are getting into my home. The question I have for you though may or may not be related to the shrew. We keep finding piles of seeds through out our basement – they are always the same type of seed – small, hard shelled, maybe a little larger than a BB – cracked a few open and they just have a white “ball” inside them. We keep finding them in side containers like plastic shoe boxes or other containers – we have never had any type of garden seeds in our home as gardening just seems like way too much work :) There also doesn’t appear to be any other type of sign like feces, feathers (if it were some type of bird) with the seeds after we empty the container – it is just seeds. Very odd. Do you think this has anything to do with the shrews?
Thanks for your time!
There are several animals which like to store seeds. The most common are mice. The deer mouse is a big hoarder and covers a lot of territory as can roof rats. But since you don’t see any droppings, I’m thinking it’s something else. Rodents like mice and rats can’t move around much without leaving a noticeable mess. If I was to guess, I’d say vole first and then shrew. Both are very active right now but the vole can cover a large area and is most likely to forage “inside” the home to store food even when they’re getting it somewhere outside. Which leads me to ask where the seeds are coming from?
I know in your message you seem confused as to where all these seeds are coming from but my guess is someone has a bird feeder close by. It could be a neighbor or even just a local tree with some kind of nut or bloom but I bet there is something close to your home furnishing all this food. If foraging voles found such a food supply, they’d first eat their full. Next they’d try and store as much as possible for future use. Since they tunnel through the ground they many times will find their way into basements and crawl spaces. This behavior leads me to believe voles could very well be foraging inside and doing all this hoarding.
At this point I’d do a good inspection outside to try and locate both a way into your home and to see if there is a good supply seed nearby. If you do find anything; don’t mess with it just yet. Next, I’d get some fresh birdseed and place it in the basement, near where you have found some seed piles, to see if you can lure anything to start “feeding” inside and not just storing. If you are able to establish a feeding site in the home, you can then employ one of the traps we have listed in our SHREW CONTROL ARTICLE. Either the kill or live trap will work on mice, rats, voles and shrews so no matter what it turns out to be; you’ll be ready to catch it. The key is knowing where to make the set and without seeing droppings or any kind of nest site, you’ll need to create one. A feeding station is a great place to trap so once they find your offering, they’ll be more predictable and therefore easy to catch.
Here is a link to our Shrew Article from which links to all the trap options are available: