Chatou Nature Update – 31/05/20

Weather : Consistent warm sunny weather all week. Slightly warmer than normal for the season and no rain.

Notes : We’ve had fantastic warm sunny weather all week. More like mid-summer than late May and whilst not wishing to seem begrudging, nature could really do with some rain. Everything is dry and the ground is very hard.

I have been following the hedgehogs all week and you can read the latest news  on the updated Hedgehog Log – 2020.

Unfortunately there has been no sign of a hedgehog settling into the new house. The weekly update does contain a little information on distinguishing between males and females and for those of a curious mind there is even a zoom on a Hedgehogs genitalia. Maybe not everybodies thing!

The highlight of the week though has been a big increase in activity of the wood mice. They have been out during the day gathering seeds from beneath the bird feeders and I managed to localise them to a hole in one of the walls where I believe they were nesting.

These mice, also called field mice, are different from house mice and are usually active during the night.

They are pretty mobile with several nesting sites around the garden. A few days after taking the above video the mice seemed to move to a new nesting site under the hedgehog house. So it is getting used, kind of.

Their daytime activity to gather food is a good indication that they are provisioning for some imminent arrivals. Apparently they normally breed several times a year with each litter containing up to five mice. However they need a lot of young as they have many predators and the rate of attrition is pretty high.

In our suburban setting the number one mouse predator is surely the domestic cat. Although I don’t have any cats myself, a couple from the neighbourhood are regular nightime visitors. And night can be a great time to catch mice.

A couple of days after the mice decamped to their new location under the hedgehog house I managed to capture the video below. On the bottom right of the hedgehog box you can see the eyes of the mouse. The cat has clearly heard something move and is ready to pounce.

I think that the mice got away this time but they’ll need to keep alert as the cat will certainly be back.

Thanks for reading. Next blog update will be next Sunday. Bye for now.

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