It is a little more than twenty 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 of this animal and was able to identify it as the Grey Musk Shrew. Since this first encounter, I have seen this interesting creature in several places, including Bangalore. I was in for a surprise one evening, when we had a visitor at home – yes, it was the Grey Musk Shrew! It was first sighted in one of the bedrooms and was later seen in the verandah. At this juncture, I closed all the doors, thereby preventing the visitor from leaving too early. Quickly, out came the camera, 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 the entire verandah and moved amidst the stack of footwear, looking for a possible snack. It soon came out into the open and cautiously moved along the junction formed by the floor meeting the wall – a behavior quite characteristic of the Grey Musk Shrew. 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 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 all the cockroaches! Not just that, they can even keep other small rodents at bay. 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 train of little shrews.