& Management / UK
Wildlife Casualty Management / Techniques:
This information should be read in association with Wildlife Casualty & Convalescent
Feeding which contains background information together with links to the
Electronic Library and Organisations (UK Contacts). The related Species pages contain
||This page has been prepared for the "UK
Wildlife: First Aid and Care" Wildpro module, and is designed for the
needs of the following species: Crocidura
russula - Greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura
suaveolus - Lesser white-toothed shrew, Neomys
fodiens - Eurasian water shrew, Sorex
araneus - Eurasian common shrew, Sorex
coronatus - French shrew, Sorex
minutus - Eurasian pygmy shrew
These species are within the family Soricidae.
- Shrews are insectivores with normal diets consisting of prey such as insects and
earthworms (see individual species pages).
- Shrews have a high metabolic rate and need to feed frequently in order to survive.
- Offer a rehydration (electrolyte) solution such as Lectade (Pfizer Limited) to drink on
- Water should be freely available at all times unless the casualty is unconscious or
severely debilitated and unable to hold its head up.
- Both water and a rehydration (electrolyte) solution, in separate containers, should be
made available initially.
Suggested convalescent diets include:
- An easily-digestible food made from ingredients of food-groups normally
eaten would be advisable.
- For shrews, Hills A/D (Hills
Pet Nutrition Ltd.) mixed with oral rehydration (electrolyte) fluids would probably
be appropriate. (V.w5,
Short term Maintenance Diet:
- Shrews are small insectivores with high metabolic rates.
- Daily food requirements are (approximately) (D25):
araneus - Common shrew 70% of body weight per 24 hours (e.g. 100 maggot-sized
prey). (Body weight adults up to 13.0g).
minutus - Pygmy shrew 125% of body weight per 24 hours. (Body weight
fodiens - Water shrew 70% of body weight per 24 hours. (Body weight
- Crocidura russala monacha - Common white-toothed shrew
(a subspecies of Crocidura
russula - Greater white-toothed shrew) in captivity in Israel required about
100% of their body weight in food per day (10-15g per animal per 24 hours), when fed on
fly larvae (maggots) and meat.(J23.13.w14)
- Shrew require frequent meals.
- Shrews left for several hours (e.g. overnight) without food available may easily die.
- A range of food items should be available to the shrew, ad libitum, at all
Suggested short term maintenance diets include:
- Foods suitable for rodents (e.g. grain-based diets) are not suitable for shrews.
- Readily-available foods such as earthworms may be adequate for short-term maintenance of
shrews, but are not suitable for long term use due to calcium:phosphorus imbalances.
- Foods which may be used to feed shrews include: mealworms/mini-mealworms, waxworms,
maggots, blowfly pupae, catfood, insectivorous diet, fresh meat, egg. (D24,
- Live food such as woodlice and snails, supplemented with small amounts of tinned pet
food or meat.(B199)
- A diet of maggots (fly larvae) and water provided ad libitum in the morning and
a mixture of chopped beef or chicken, boiled eggs, cereals, fish-meal and milk (for
calcium), with multivitamins added twice weekly, in the afternoon, has been used to feed
white toothed shrews Crocidura spp. in a long-term breeding situation. (Described
for use as a long-term diet).(J23.13.w14)
- Calcium supplementation should be considered when foods with a calcium:phosphorus
imbalance, such as mealworms, are being fed.
|Appropriate Use (?)
- Fresh drinking water should always be available in a container of an appropriate size
and type for the species concerned.
- Fluid replacement therapy other than oral fluids may be required for casualties which
are extremely dehydrated on admission or are unable to take in and absorb oral fluids.
- Fluid therapy should continue until the animal is no longer dehydrated, even if it is
- Feeding of convalescents should take into account their requirement for additional
nutrients for healing as well as maintenance requirements.
- The required fluid intake for maintenance should be considered when designing
- Energy requirements for maintenance and healing should be calculated and used to
determine the quantity of food required for both convalescence and short-term maintenance
- Convalescent diets should be easily absorbed/digested.
- Care should be taken not to under or over supplement with vitamins/minerals.
- Diets intended for feeding from a syringe or by stomach tube (gavage) must be of a
sufficiently fluid consistency to pass through the syringe nozzle or down the tube without
it becoming blocked.
- The natural diet should be considered when deciding on suitable ingredients, including
consideration of taste/smell.
- Fresh food must be provided daily.
- Regular cleaning of food and drinking water containers (e.g. daily) is important to
reduce the risk of disease.
- Food and water containers should be sited to minimise the risk of contamination with
|Complications/ Limitations / Risk
|Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
- Oral rehydration (electrolyte) solutions are widely available from veterinary suppliers
- A basic oral rehydration (electrolyte) solution may be made by dissolving one
tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt in one litre of water.(B203)
- A/D Hills Science Diet (Hills
Pet Nutrition Ltd.) from veterinary suppliers
- Lectade, Pfizer Limited: from veterinary suppliers and agricultural feed suppliers.
- Live food may be bought from some pet stores and specialist mail-order animal food
|Expertise level / Ease of Use
- No particular expertise is required.
- The availability of locally collected live food will vary, particularly with season.
|Legal and Ethical Considerations
- Under the Protection
of Animals Acts 1911-2000 it is an offence not to provide animals
(including captive wild animals) with necessary food and water. (J35.147.w1,
- Care should be taken not to let an individual become accustomed to a single food item as
this may result in difficulties in feeding the animal if the food item becomes
unavailable, and in preparing it for release.
- Every effort should be made to provide appropriate natural, locally available foods to
animals which have been maintained in captivity for prolonged periods before they are
released, in order to re-accustom them to a natural diet and reduce the chance of
digestive problems following release.(P24.233.w11)
- The release of animals which, by virtue of an inadequate or inappropriate diet whilst in
captivity, are not fit to survive when released may be considered an offence under the Abandonment
of Animals Act, 1960.
||Becki Lawson and Suzanne Boardman