The Mammals of Minnesota by Evan B. Hazard

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By Evan B. Hazard

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Delayed implantation, a characteristic of weasels and other members of the family Mustelidae, order Carnivora). Spermatogenesis occurs in male bats during the warmer months, and mating occurs in the fall. Live sperm are present in the uteri of females throughout hibernation, but ovulation and fertilization do not occur until spring at the end of hibernation. The young are born in early summer (Wimsatt 1945). Bats are among the more important vectors of rabies (Constantine 1970). Although this problem is more serious in states farther south, the Section of Disease Prevention and Control, Minnesota Department of Health, has reported the occurrence of rabid bats in Minnesota (Hazard 1973).

The young probably leave the nest when 10 to 12 days old. Shrews may be preyed on by a variety of animals, although their strong musky odor sometimes makes them unattractive to carnivorous mammals. In winter, I have tracked foxes that have killed shrews and then left them uneaten in the snow. However, shrews have also been found in the stomachs of predatory mammals. The odor does not seem to offend hawks and owls, and, in moist habitats, shrews are sometimes eaten by frogs (Marshall 195la). 22 Order Insectivora/Insectivores Relationship to People: People perhaps encounter Sorex cinereus (and other shrews) most often as something a cat drags in, and then they may mistake it for a mouse.

Additional References: Constantine 1958; Davis and Lidicker 1956; Heaney and Birney 1975; Kunz 1973; LaVal and LaVal 1979; Mackiewicz and Backus 1956; Myers 1978; Quay and Miller 1955; Terres 1956.

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