Since the end of July we’ve started to let our two cats out into the garden, roaming freely day and night, and I’m afraid this has had a major, and rather detrimental impact on the mice. They have become by far the favourite prey of the cats who have caught and killed many.
The cats have also caused problems for the birds but I’ve made some changes, particularly to the positioning of the bird feeders, so there is some protection. But there is really little I can do for the mice.
I would estimate that on average the cats have been taking about 3 a week. Despite this I’ve continued to catch quite a few in the humane trap in the garden shed. So there are clearly a lot of mice around and at least some capable of evading the lurking cat menace.
However I don’t think I should do anything to encourage more mice into the garden so I decided to remove the mouse house.
When removing it I opened it up and had a bit of a nose inside. I didn’t find anything startling, a couple of nice spiders aside.
There were lots of little black empty seed cases which I guess the mice had been eating. The only ‘clue’ I found were the presence of sycamore seeds.
There are Sycamore trees in the gardens of a couple of my neighbours and they were obviously providing part of the mouse diet.
So I think in these conditions it is time to close out the mouse log and concentrate on some of the other animals and birds. To be honest I didn’t really manage to learn a lot with the limited means that I deployed. The mice are very small, secretive and highly mobile. Except on a couple of occasions they were only visible in the mouse house for a few minutes. The best recording I managed was when a mouse stayed pretty much the hole day on the 26th July.
Prior to the intervention of the cats I was considering putting in place a much more elaborate mouse house, perhaps with several interconnected chambers. This may have provided a more interesting environment for them, and one in which they would therefore have spent more time.
However with the cats in the ascendency I think I will leave the little fellas in peace and hope they find a nicer and safer environment somewhere else.