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Wildlife Garden blog

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While this recent cold spell has brought additional visitors to feed on our cones, berries and bird feeders, Larissa tells us about life below the bird feeders:

 

“Starting working in the wildlife garden just two months ago, I was amazed at the diversity of life within the garden. One particular creature caught my attention - the mice that scurry around under the bird feeders (and occasionally past your feet!).


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One of the house mice searches for seeds spilt by the birds underneath the feeder

 


In previous years, both the house mouse (Mus musculus) and the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) have been recorded within the garden. It was time for another small mammal survey and I was pleased to have joined in time to be able to take part.

 

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The wood mouse differs from the house mouse with larger ears and eyes, golden fur and a more defined white underbelly


With help from the volunteers, longworth traps (pictured below) were used to catch small mammals present in the garden. For just over two weeks, each evening the traps were set with enough bedding and supplies for any curious creature to enjoy a 5 star stay before checking them the following morning.

 

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The longworth trap is the most commonly used humane trap when surveying small mammals

 

Over the two weeks, a total of 39 Mus musculus were trapped along with 4 toads (Bufo bufo) and a variety of slugs! To our surprise, we even found three little mice all snuggled up together in one trap. The most successful traps were those set nearer the sheds, or by the bird feeders where mice are often observed scavenging seeds the birds clumsily drop (see the video below). Unfortunately no wood mice were trapped, but we haven’t given up hope and will resume trapping again when the weather gets a little warmer”.

 

 

 

Watch our house mice in action under the bird feeder!