It is a little more than twelve years since I encountered a little animal in a quaint little hill station in southern India. On that occasion, I had a very good view this animal and was able to identify it – it turned out to be the Grey Musk Shrew!
Since the first encounter, I have seen this interesting creature in several places including Bangalore. I was in for a surprise recently. One evening, we had a strange visitor at home – yes, it was the Grey Musk Shrew! It was first sighted in one of the bedrooms and later was seen in the verandah. At this juncture, I closed all the doors thereby preventing the visitor from leaving too early. Quickly the camera came out and I was ready for action!
Knowing the habits of the Grey Musk Shrew, all I had to do was to wait in a strategic position in the verandah. The wait did not go waste. The shrew explored all of the verandah and amid the stack of footwear for a possible snack. It soon came out into the open and cautiously moved along the angle, formed by the floor and the wall – a behaviour quite characteristic of the Grey Musk Shrew. My camera was put into action and I got my first few pictures of the Grey Musk Shrew. After I was certain that I got satisfactory pictures, I opened the door connecting the verandah to the living room and almost instantaneously, it ran into the living room. Soon we lost track of the shrew. It was seen moving around the house the following day too but not subsequently.
The Grey Musk Shrew looks very similar to the rodents (e.g. rats and mice), but it is actually an insectivore! So it is good to have one of these little shrews at home – they would probably make a meal of the cockroaches!
Like all other mammals, Grey Mush Shrews give birth to young ones. When the baby shrews are old enough to go out with mama, they form a little train. Each baby holds the tail of the other while the first one holds the tail of the mother! I have only read about this and will wait for an opportunity to witness and photograph this little train of shrews.