The Shrew – untamed!!

Over the past few months I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my garden.  I was there pretty much every afternoon, except on rainy days!! 🙂 During my time in the garden I’ve been able to observe the wildlife that calls my garden home.  Very early in spring, I found a very large toad hiding among the weeds by the rose bushes.  It sauntered off slowly, and it is probably still hiding in the tangle of weeds which I’ve not gotten round to clearing yet!

When the pear trees bloomed this spring they where abuzz with bees  – the promise of fruit later in the year!!

Bumble bees loved the comfrey flowers:

I left a fair number of borage plants to flower this year – they provided lots of bee food!

This tiny green spider was a little cross at being disturbed, I think.  It waved its front legs at me in a fairly threatening manner! 🙂

Many years ago, when I first took over the garden there were many small lizards darting in an out of the gaps in the stone walls.  They were fun to watch as they jumped and dashed about.  I managed to photograph the one in the picture below many years ago – it was sunning itself in an old ceramic sink!

At some point the geckos started moving in – I don’t remember when, but it’s been a good many years.  Somehow the geckos took over and I haven’t seen a lizard in the garden for a few years – they got crowded out.  I have one bruiser of a gecko living in one of the compost bins – it is feeding on the little flies and other insects that buzz around in there.  Doesn’t it look well fed??

Over the years I have spotted many other animals in the garden!  Once I came across a large bright green lizard (no I had not had a drink!).  Another time there was fairly large snake slithering away into the bushes.  The snake had me spooked – for quite a while I was very weary of reaching with my hands where I could not see!

All kinds of birds visit the garden and it’s always a pleasure to sit and watch them once I’ve turned over a patch of ground!!  And of course there are cats – a succession of them, some better behaved than others!

This year, I discovered an animal in the garden that I had never encountered before.  In February I became aware of something scurrying about – I thought it was probably a mouse and gave it no more thought.  At the beginning of April I took my camera with me to the garden, to take pictures of some of the flowers, and that’s when I saw this little animal in one of the flower beds:

Its fur was a kind of grey-ish brown colour and its body was probably the length of my ring finger.  It was rummaging around in the mulch, totally oblivious to my presence.  I first imagined it to be a mouse.

I couldn’t quite see its face as it was buried in the mulch most of the time!  As it rummaged it came closer to where I was crouched, and finally I managed to get a good picture!

I’d never seen an animal like it – a mouse with a pointed nose!!  A bit of research on the internet showed this to be a garden shrew.  I did a bit of reading and found out that this was not a rodent – what a relief!!  Shrews have a very high metabolic rate and eat insect larvae, slugs & snails and worms.  Because of their high metabolism they have to eat a lot!  Perhaps this shrew was very hungry and therefore ignored me??  In any case, it would seem to be a very beneficial animal to have in the garden!!

Here is a brief video of the shrew:

Do you have any interesting animals living in your garden??

9 thoughts on “The Shrew – untamed!!

  1. As counterintuitive as it is, big snakes are less dangerous than small ones, at least around here. Vipers are just little, but poisonous, whereas coulèvres can grow very large and are harmless.
    That green spider looks scary to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have giant toads, too. In fact, we found a whole family of them living in the middle of a sand heap! I don’t know how they could breathe. Lots of lizards but no geckos (too far north and too high up probably). And tiny bright green frogs that make an incredible noise. We’ve had a yellow and black spider that is well camouflaged in yellow flowers. I don’t like snakes, either!

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  3. It was a delight to read this post and see the matching photos. Such a contrast to most of the small creatures which live in Australian gardens – no shrews at all here! I’ve never seen anything like that green spider; small as it was it looked threatening. I don’t like spiders either, but then we do have some scarily dangerous ones in this country. Many many years ago I saw a purple and red spider when I was travelling through a national park in the far north-west of Victoria, my home state. Once seen, never forgotten! There are actually very few serious encounters between people and our wildlife, it’s just that when there is one it is dramatic and traumatic. However last summer I saw a red-bellied black snake (yes, it’s venomous!) here in our suburban shopping centre – it was emerging onto the footpath from a narrow gap between two shops. But that was an exceptional event, believe me, and no-one was hurt. (And the snake disappeared but whether of its own volition or with human interference I don’t know.)
    Thanks again for the glimpse into life in and around Saint Chinian.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I so love these pictures and your garden mates. I was terrified of snakes and to fight the phobia I started following a snake catcher Facebook page – Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7. Learned to love and respect the slithery folk 🙂


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