Scilly Shrew Thriving As Rats Disappear on St Agnes

st agnesMost of rats appear to have been killed on St Agnes, as part of the cull designed to protect sea birds.

But the islands’ other small mammal, the Scilly shrew, is thriving according to organisers of the Seabird Recovery Project.

The team behind the £900,000 RSPB-backed scheme to kills rats and protect rare seabirds say that the Scilly shrew appears to be one of the major beneficiaries of the project.

It looks like shrews are spreading, although it’s unclear yet whether they are still breeding after the mild winter, or whether they have just moved into more areas since the rats have gone.

Nobody knows how the Scilly shrew got to be on Scilly but it’s thought that they have been here since at least the Bronze Age.

St Agnes locals have been advised that whilst shrews will enter houses they are generally considered beneficial to people, especially gardeners, as they eat snails and insects.

And islanders are being told that the shrews don’t carry any diseases transferable to humans, and they do not gnaw on electric cables, unlike rats.