House Mouse

Mus musculus

House mice have grey-brown fur, large pink ears, and a hairless tail which is as long as its head and body. Compared to similar mice, they have narrower heads and small eyes. Head and body length 6-10cm. Tail length as long as the head and body.

The female House Mouse has five to ten litters of four to eight pups in a year, and may produce up to forty young in a lifetime. They are mainly nocturnal creatures, but can also be active during the day. They can climb and swim fairly well, and live in family groups. They make nests in buildings by chewing paper or the like, and natural habitats they live in a small burrow in the soil. Not only do cats predate on them, but also barn owls, stoats, weasels and rats. They are killed by severe cold in the winter, and are trapped and killed as pests. Their sense of sight is poor, but their senses of smell, touch, taste and hearing are acute. They do not hibernate, and are seen all year round. They feed on grain and fruit, insects and other invertebrates. They can live up to 18 months.

They are found in association with human occupation, such as houses, food stores, farm buildings, rubbish tips, sheds and outbuildings, shops, factories, warehouses, gardens, open fields and hedgerows. They were originally from Asia, and were introduced to Britain via trading during the Iron Age. Abundant and widespread throughout.

Photographs taken September 2012, February 2014 and March 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. In March 2016 I saw two house mice by my bird feeder scurrying around a flower border. There were small holes in the ground which they kept jumping in when my camera shutter made a noise, but they soon got used to it and they were hardly bothered by it in a short while. They appeared to be gathering small twigs and bits of plant debris, perhaps to make a nest.  I hadn’t got my zoom lens with me, only my macro lens, but I manged to get within a couple of feet of them to get a few shots off.

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