Non-toxic bait for trapping shrews?

Does anyone have a suggestion for a non-toxic bait to use in traps for shrews? I tried seeds, bit of apple, and some protein bars, all of which they ignore. The only thing that seems to work is rat bait (I was able to kill a few with a rat trap baited with this), but it’s a poison and I don’t want to use it close to where I grow my strawberries, gooseberries, and such. I hope someone might have a tip – they are inundating my garden! Thanks!

What problem are shrews?

They seem to eat the roots of my ground cover berries: they virtually destroyed my lingonberries (still have a few strands alive, but probably not for long…) and an area of alpine strawberries within the radius of around 1 yard from one of their holes last year couldn’t really grow (there would be some degenerate leaves hear an there, but not nearly a lush ground cover they used to create, and of course no berries were in this spot). And now I am seeing more and more of those holes throughout my garden. They don’t seem to affect large bushes like gooseberries, but I do see those holes right next to the bushes as well.

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I don’t know how effective it would be at attracting shrews, moles or voles, but a customer of mine couldn’t speak more highly of this bait that he used on another rodent, the squirrels that he was trying to trap and remove from his attic.

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I think shrews are primarily insectivores.

You are right, but I read that some shrew species also eat roots, and based on what I am seeing in my garden, I suspect that’s the kind I have. From “Shrews are insectivores that feed primarily on insects, spiders and slugs. Shrews also eat small birds, mice, small snakes, and even other shrews when the opportunity presents itself. Seeds, roots and other vegetable matter are also eaten by some species of shrews.”

Could it maybe be more of a grub problem than a shrew one? I know that when I find sections of my lawn dying and full of mole holes I can lift sections of it up and find the root zone full of grubs.

Have never knowingly seen a shrew in the flesh, and was surprised to read of some eating plant materials… but I’d still place my bets on voles if lots of root damage is being experienced.
With regard to proximity to edibles, like strawberries, gooseberries, etc., I can’t understand your hesitancy… you wouldn’t mistake rodent bait for either of those berries, and just their mere presence in the vicinity, particularly in a trap or bait station, poses no issue with regard to transfer to or incorporation into the fruits.

I am concerned about the poison contaminating the soil, not about confusing it for a berry :slight_smile: You make a good point about voles, I think the couple critters I was able to trap looked like shrews to me (pointy noses), but I can’t exclude a possibility that there are also voles there, and it’s them eating the roots. My only thought against this is that I assume they would be attracted to seeds, and I’ve never caught one. Regarding @weatherandtrees’s thought about grabs, while we do have them for sure (and the Japanese beetles that emerge from them), I don’t think they are the culprit here – we never have them spread to the point that they’d kill even grass in any area, let alone strawberries or lingonberries.