This Is Too Much. No, Seriously.

Just now, I was outside, trying to figure out why my puppy was barking at a window well. He's destroyed most of the window well covers --sigh. This one has a huge hole in it but he was just barking at it.

So, I shut him back inside and went to take a look.

Look at that!!!

What IS that??

Look, here's a better picture of one of them.

Are they mice?  If they ARE mice, do they have to be that cute?

Okay, I did a little research (love Google) and I think this might be a Woodland Vole.

Which is just TERRIBLE NEWS.

First of all, I don't know if I've already mentioned this but we have this infestation of ladybugs in our master bathroom.  I think they came in when we brought the plants in for the long winter.

Y'all.  I have been losing sleep over those dumb lady bugs: Do they have enough to eat?  How do I get them back outside? What if my bubble bath is toxic to lady bugs? What is the life expectancy of a lady bug, anyway?  What if I accidentally squash one?  Now that they are in my bathroom, I feel very responsible for them!

And now this!  Now VOLES!

And it gets worse! It turns out that this species of the Vole is MONOGAMOUS. How can I possible exterminate rodents that share my core values??

Plus, okay, even if I don't off the little suckers, how am I going to keep the cats away from them?  Our cats wear bells but they are sneaky, sneaky buggers. And the puppy...he's already proven to destroy window-well covers and they're NOT EVEN ALIVE.

Of course, they may NOT be voles--I didn't see any tails on the little guys.

(Back to Wikipedia.  Much clicking.)

Oh, okay, they're SHREWS.

I think.

(And, in some version of life being stranger than fiction, they appear to be misplaced SOUTHERN Short-tailed Shrews.  Normally not found in the North.)

(Just letting that sink in for a second.)

(Is it just me or does anyone else think it's strange that a misplaced Southerner shows up in the yard of another misplaced Southerner?)

(Of course, the SHREW is venomous.)

(Just, you know...sayin'.  Just thinking that certain misplaced Southerners are better equipped than others.)

So, for those of you keeping score at home, now I have a master bathroom infested with ladybugs, two misplaced Southern, venomous shrews (who may or may not share my core values) living in my window wells AND I need to go out and buy all new window well covers to keep my pets OUT of the window wells.

This could happen to you, too, right?  Maybe it already has?

Right.  That's what I thought.


Unknown said…
venomous??seriously? wow. little bastards!

we have voles up here and they are so dumb they drown in rain puddles...
hokgardner said…
Really, Barb. This kind of stuff only happens to you.
Unknown said…
DaMomma came home to a flying squirrel in her house a few months ago. My friend Ellie...she had a chicken her chickens in the city. Why not? I like your reaction to your little shrews much more. One of those ladies, I'm not saying who, called her daddy in another state. You are a woman after my heart. Google rules.
Unknown said…
I have to comment again because I forgot to subscribe to the comments. I love hearing what your readers have to say :)
Anonymous said…
We are experiencing the winter infestation of ladybugs. They are in our master bath and our basement. I don't hold the same worries that you do about them. I figure if they were dumb enough to invade my home, it is there job to figure out how to find food. etc. The weather has warmed up, and I hadn't seen one in a while, so I was ready to declare the infestation over, but now that it is chilly again, some are back.

I know nothing about voles and shrews, although my friend did find a dead star nosed mole in her yard. Google that one. Yuck!!!!!

Tenna Draper said…
Barb, suck up the lady bugs (they aren't really lady bugs, they are some pest from Japan, and if you leave them, they will breed, hide from you and you'll have THOUSANDS next year.

In your bathroom.

As for the voles. Get some live traps (Walmart or something like that), and trap the buggers and set them loose ELSEWHERE. Far away. THEY BITE AND ARE NOT VERY FRIENDLY. While their bite is likely not venomous, they are pretty painful, and they have sharp teeth and carry all sorts of the same sort of diseases (including black plague)--best to remove them QUICKLY.

And don't let your animals find them--this means taking them somewhere wooded and letting them find a new least 5 miles or more away.
Tiny Tyrant said…
I back up Teena, and if they are the Asian ones, they bite and you, Coop or the girls could be allergic.

Shop vac those suckers out of there. It's not worth it.

Call animal control for the vole/shrew/rodent thing honey. If they are venomous, I sure don't want you or the dogs are cats getting a hold of them.
Gretchen said…
I have a piece of wooden lattice leaned against the side of my window wells so the garter snakes can get out. We've had voles/shrews. Frog infestation in there every year. Oh, and a baby duck once. Should maybe think about covers.
Anonymous said…
Ugh! Ladybugs! I used to think they were lucky until we moved to a beautiful house in rural VA next to a forest. The government thought it would be a dandy idea to drop these little darlings in the forest to fight aphids and other insects. If you squish them they put out an awful smell that tells the other ladybugs to come help. Other people recommend sucking them up in a vacuum. We also had voles which Nellie, our Border Collie loved to hunt. One year we had flying squirrels that loved to scurry around in the walls at around 2 AM! They were at least cute. I wish you all the best with the ladybugs, though.
Barb Matijevich said…
Gosh, you guys, I LIKE the ladybugs. I don't want to kill them --I want to feed them and name them and watch them have ladybug babies. They don't bite. I assume when we take the plants back out, they'll go out, too. They're beneficial for gardens, aren't they?

The shrews aren't poisonous to people. Just small things like earthworms, etc. --maybe even mice. I do want to keep my cats away from them because nothing ruins a good granola, earthy, live-and-let-live Mama moment like having to pick up the carcasses of all the tiny rodents my (well-fed) cats kill.
joannamauselina said…
I have ladybugs in my bedroom and I worry about them too. I used to be kind to the rats that occasionally came in, but finally had to declare a war on rats. I started letting the dog and cats into where they were, setting traps, etc. I caught (one way or another) THIRTEEN. I mourned every one of them, but they were just too pesty. Mice ate the brake fluid tube thing on my car TWICE - much disaster potential. Mice and rats are really cute too. What makes it worse is that I used to have rats as pets and I loved them. Rats have a lot of personality.
I'm now persuaded that it would be unwise to ever bring plants into the house and if that means never growing them outside again, so be it!
Just Mom said…
This one made me laugh out loud so I had to actually click through my Google Reader and open the post to tell you "Thank you!"
kim said…
Well, my friend, if misery loves comfort, it should be comforting to you to know that we have both ladybug infestations (in two rooms) and mice. Oh yes, Stuart Little was eating through my cereal boxes. The mice are now taking the nice bait that the exterminator left. But the little ladies? We've been told there is not much we can do until next AUGUST when they lay their eggs again! OMG! I am ready to lose it. I doubt it was the plants....
kim said…
Um, I meant, misery loves company, not comfort. LOL
Barb Matijevich said…
Just for the record, I am not so granola-y about ALL living things. I don't want to talk about the kind of nuclear power I would unleash if we had a moth infestation. (Moths be forewarned! Stay away from my freaking yarn!)

Why yes, Hypocrisy R Us!
Unknown said…
It's not the granola aspect I necessarily admire, it's the self sufficiency.
Georgi said…
Just get an owl and point them at the shrews. lolol
The Dister said…
OMG! What if the possibly monogamous misplaced Southern shrews bite the starving, bubble-blowing bathroom ladybugs and give them the black plague!!!??!!

Then what!!!????

You're never gonna sleep again, are you.
Rodents and humans don't mix well. I'd go with Tenna's suggestions on those shrews. And to whomever thinks a rodent infestation wouldn't be bad, some rodents chew on electric wires. (That includes squirrels) So if you are harboring these creatures anywhere in your house, you are running the risk of an electrical fire.

And let's not talk about the uncleanliness of rodent excrement in your foodstuffs, okay?

Wildlife belongs outside. Everyone's better off that way!

We recently had some sort of pantry moth infestation. Nothing like snacking from an open container of raisins and glancing in (while chewing) to see white grub-like larvae in amongst the fruit...

Sorry, I just had to share that. I can't eat raisins at all now.

Do the ladybugs automatically migrate outside as it warms up? I'm guessing they do. I'd google it to be sure, though.
Here's a little ladybug info. Looks as though you don't have to worry about feeding them...
DK said…
Dude. I LOVE ladybugs. In most Asian cultures, they're considered to be lucky. I don't blame you for not thinking the ladybugs are bad. I had an infestation in my house in Chicago, which I happily let slide until one day I came home and there were literally over a thousand in my living room. And then I had to put a stop to it (I vacuumed up the ones in the living room - apologizing while I went - and then filled in the cracks in my very old windows). We had them in the OR once, too, at my old hospital - THAT is clearly not admissible.

I can tell you how to identify the furry critters with certainty. Separate them, and ask each one about the other. If you hear either of them say, "Well, bless her heart, that tramp," you definitely have Southern shrews.
Miri said…
I just love the word "shrew." I don't mean to be insensitive to the whole freakishness of them stowing away in your luggage, apparently, but I think you're BLESSED with these visitors. All the great artists must suffer for their art. Wait. Where was I going with this comment?

Oh, yeah, and I look after ladybugs too.
ccr in MA said…
"How can I possible exterminate rodents that share my core values??"

This is why I love reading your blog. Just have to say.

Years ago we had mice in the kitchen cupboards, the little bastards. Luckily I knew they were totally annoying before I saw one, since he could have come from his day job in Disney movies, he was so cute. Argh! There's a whole story about the night I thought the cat would help me Deal With The Mouse Situation...
Susan said…
You have the whole circle of life thing goin' on there.
Lynn said…
I had at least three of the ladybugs(?) trying to mate with the lights in the ceiling fan in the kitchen a few weeks ago. I'm hoping that come summer, they unionize and declare war on the waterbugs...
Joni said…
If they are real ladybugs, they are a good thing. If they are the Asian beetles, not so much -- and they will bit and it HURTS when they do. So I would check to see which type they are and then, if they are the Asian beetles, I think you probably want to pretend they are moths and get rid of them.
Lisa Walsh said…
I think the moths sensed your insectile hypocrisy and created little ladybug costumes so they would not have to suffer nuclear annihilation. I'd keep an eye on the yarn. Although they're clever, I don't think the moths could pull off a shrew costume.


And I LOVED DK's method of determining if they're Southern Shrews. I would have just listened to hear if they squeak with a drawl.
Adrienne said…
You are not alone! One night it was raining and I had our sliding glass door open (for the sweet, dumb dog who cannot decide if he wants in or out) when the CUTEST little mouse scampered in. I actually thought about whether to pretend I hadn't seen it but I did shoo him back out after realizing that my husband would just kill him if I didn't. I felt so bad though - poor little critter out in the pouring rain :-(

I lived in NY for a couple years when I was a kid and I remember coming across one of those mole/vole/shrew critters. My mom and I both thought it was so cute that we tried to keep it for a pet in a terrarium. Poor thing died and I still feel bad about that too!

ps. What the heck are window wells??? (Says the girl from southern CA...)
Bullwinkle said…
Ditto on the Asian beetle vs true ladybugs bits. Get rid of the beetles.

As for the shrews - /sigh. I have a friend who made her husband drive around for an hour or so (to disoriente the skunk) so it wouldn't come back "home".

Yes. Skunk. (And he did it. Or said he did them off and slunk away to a favorite place for an adult beverage to wait the proper amount of time.)
Anonymous said…
The wikipedia article on southern shrews says it's unthreatened, on the east coast...and the main source is "Mammals of Texas"! How appropriate is THAT? :)