We don’t want them in our houses’ but the truth is that mice are absolutely everywhere and are present in nearly all gardens of any size. And the most common mouse is not the house mouse or the doormouse but our little friend the Wood Mouse.
The wood mouse can be identified from the others in a few key areas. It has big ears, eyes and particularly large back legs. It is also generally a light brown colour, compared to the grey of the house mouse, and unlike the house mouse has a white belly.
Their diet is mainly nuts, seeds and fruit and this means that in the garden they will often forage under bird tables and feeders.
The mice in my garden seem to pop up in various locations and are then very active for a short period, maybe a week or so, before they seem to move on and find a different spot. I assume this means that they will have several different nest sites dotted around which they move between. Nests are often in underground burrows and they will often build areas for food storage.
The video below was taken during a period when the mice were very active, in and out of a hole in the garden wall which I assume they were using either as a storage or nesting site.
This was taken during the day and although the mice are generally nocturnal I have very often seen them active and visible during the day.
They do however pop up more frequently on the trail cameras at night. In my garden I have two compost heaps and also a couple of habitat piles, basically piles of old twigs and cuttings from the garden bushes that I gather up and leave. These are really favoured spots for the mice.
Even though they are not house mice they do sometimes find their way inside. They are very agile, good climbers and can fit into very small gaps and holes. A nice example of the agility is shown in the video below.
Of course they have lots of predators, including some interesting ones such as the beech marten, but their biggest foe is the domestic cat, and unfortunately I have two of these. They have killed many mice, especially during their night time hunts but I do continue to see them in the garden.
So there are clearly a lot of mice around and at least some capable of evading the lurking cat menace.