Outdoors: Taming shrews

Oct 7, 2020

Why is it that when men speak derogatorily of women, they refer to them as animals?

This beastly name-calling dates back at least to Shakespeare's time. The Bard referred to Kate as a shrew in the play "The Taming of the Shrew."

Admittedly, to describe a vicious, aggressive individual, the type who, whenever she opens her mouth, poison seems to flow out, that name might have been apt.

If the shrew fits...

Shrews are ferocious little mammals. They're stubby gray creatures with no external ears, diminuitive eyes and elongated, pointed snouts. 

They live life in the fast lane, in perpetual motion, ceaseless in their frenzied search for the next meal. A shrew must eat three times its body weight each day.

Our local short-tail shrew, which is a mere three inches in length, is able to subdue mice and birds because poison really does flow from its mouth.

A shrew's saliva is toxic, and the poison from its bite can paralyze small prey.

"The Taming of the Shrew" is one of my favorite comedies, but I have to say that Shakespeare knew more about human nature than about small predatory animals.

The taming techniques Shakespeare wrote about would never have worked on a real shrew. 

A shrew will die of shock in minutes if confined, and it will starve if it doesn't eat every few hours.

You won't have a tame shrew - you'll have a tiny dead one.