Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
Hi, Emily here again 🙂
This week I have decided to write about the wood mouse.
This species is found throughout the British Isles, even on small islands, making it our most widespread and common wild rodent. It is so common due to its adaptive nature that enables it to live in most habitats. However, you are unlikely to find a wood mouse on high, exposed ground due to the lack of cover from its four main predators: red fox; owl (especially the tawny owl); domestic cat, and weasel. The tawny owl is highly reliant upon the wood mouse for its diet; it has been shown that in years where the number of rodents are low, the number of owlets born are also low.
The wood mouse lives in fairly complicated burrows that often have nest chambers and food stores within. These burrows are normally built under the roots of trees and shrubs, but can sometimes be located in buildings and dormouse/bird boxes. A wood mouse will often block the entrance to its burrow with twigs, leaves and stones. Individuals will often nest communally in the winter and huddle together to share body heat – a behaviour called kleptothermy. When it is spring they return to having a solitary nest. The wood mouse will eat seeds, fruits, green plants, worms, caterpillars, and centipedes depending on the time of year.
Despite not having any legal protection, the Mammal Society’s recent Review of the Population and Conservation Status of Britain’s Mammals found that the wood mouse has a similar population size today to that in 1995.
Many of our water way mammals do not have such stable population sizes and that’s why we need help from people like you to collect data on abundance, densities and distributions on the mammals located around your local water way! You can do this by downloading the Mammal Mapper app and taking part in a Walk This Water Way survey 🙂 For more information click here!