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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 May, 2014

Long-tailed field mouse: boarder and hoarder

Our mainly new, modern, clean town and suburban houses mean that the house mouse is now quite rare but the long-tailed field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) still manages to prosper. This is not necessarily due to it living in houses but by living near to human habitation. During my working days we lived in five different houses and at each address we encountered this little chap in one way or another, usually in our garage!
Not only do they look cute with those big eyes and long whiskers they are
pretty cute in the way they behave! As you might imagine, we are pretty avid feeders of birds in our garden and keep our supplies of seed and nuts in the garage. It takes no time at all for long-tailed field mice to track it down. The fun part is finding out, usually unexpectedly, just where they have created their cache! Under boxes, behind cupboards, even in my Wellington boots! The holes in the sacks are a give away, we know they are there but rarely see them. We once kept seed in a plastic bin and they even managed to gnaw their way through that.
Whilst we are happy for them to over-winter in the safety of the garage we are less keen on having a nest of young mice there during the summer. Sadly, without harming them, we have to discourage them by having a good clear out of everything and washing out the garage every spring.
They are primarily nocturnal which is why they are seldom seen but this one in the photograph was feeding under the nut bags in winter. They are also known as the wood mouse.
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