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What's down there?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by RovingMike, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    That is - or was - a wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus, not a vole of any sort (voles have stumpy tails).

    Ecologist-in-residence reckons it looks a bit big for a mouse burrow. Our allotments are knee-deep in voles - we've sat out there having a break before in a glut year and the voles have run over my feet - and there's not a lot of holes like that. Voles tend to make runs along the ground in the grass roots, and cut holes into humps, bumps and edges rather than going straight down (though that's not a given).

    I wonder whether it's where a woodpecker or bird of some sort has dug out an insect nest.

    I went out to the allotment once and thought I'd had vandals - there was a big hole in the middle of my beetroot bed, and broken beet scattered round. When I looked closer, there were claw marks on the surrounding beet, the ones that had been thrown about had all been gnawed from below to the point where some were just shells, and there was lots of very finely chopped grass mixed into the devastation. I reckon there'd been a vole nesting under my beet, probably with young, and a fox dug them out in the night.
  2. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    .Well we've had enough barbecues lately,
    I'll have to take your word for it. So much conflicting ID online. One I followed said tail 50% of length, brown on top and blue / cream underneath for Field Vole. Others say tail 2/3 of length or less. It is twice the size of any mouse I've ever seen and I've caught a few. Definitely lives in the holes as I put basins over both to keep cats off the traps. No bird had dug that out, I have seen results of that, it is perfectly round and goes straight down a long way. I read they are exits, not entrances.
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Definitely mouse.

    Voles have much shorter tails and look as if they had run full tilt into wall - the nose is rounded and fatter than meeces.

    Imagine a hamster which has been shrunk in the wash.

    Got loads of assorted mice and voles in my garden. Rarely do any damage worth even looking at. The moles, however, are a pain in the neck; the dog keeps digging out their hills ...

  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I s'pose it could have been a yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicolis) - they really are big mice, like trainee rats, though they're a woodland species (the ordinary wood mouse is markedly bigger than a house mouse, and the yellow neck markedly bigger than the woood mouse). But if that's a vole I'm a dutchman. Steve's description is bang on - see here: https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/bank-vole (note the small ears and blunt hooter). Field voles are sandier whereas bank voles are a deep conker brown.

    Mice will fit through gaps so small you wouldn't notice them - they're ridiculously good at squeezing through tiny spaces.
  5. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    Yeah. that I found out after my mouse problem in the house a month or so ago. Incredible small place they were getting in through.
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The important issue is 'Is this small mammal an endangered species? ' If not and if it is doing damage then deal with them.
    A real problem would be having door mice in your house, or bats in your roof space.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It’s a dead mouse.
  8. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Yes I oscilated between field and bank voles, but sources conflict. I know about the blunt nose and short tail very well, so thought this had to be a mouse, but it was exactly as per the bank vole in your link:


    Twice the size of a mouse, reddy brown on top and blue/white underneath. BUT it had a tail 50% of its overall length. Still confused, but I'll settle for some kind of mutated bank vole at present. Either way it had no companions because traps have been empty last two nights. I think it just wandered down while the tom cat from over the road is neglecting his duties. He usually nabs them up the far end.
  9. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    So I filled in the holes in the lawn, the owner not requiring them anymore and all was well until yesterday, when we noticed one had been opened up again. So traps out of the shed again and another result this morning. It is 9cm long and tail the same, so persuaded it is not a vole. Now going for Yellow Necked Field mouse:

    [​IMG]P8191894 by Mike Longhurst, on Flickr
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I tend to the view that if it’s not in the house good luck to it, though I draw the line at the rats that like to nest in the compost bin.
  11. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Me too, but herself is rather more paranoid about it, especially when it is making holes very near the house. We usually leave pest control to the very efficient tomcat from over the road. I'd leave them be personally.
  12. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I had to go looking, now I thought of it. Motion blur at 1/1250s. For the moment (they are building houses on them right now) we have field behind the fence so have to expect some wildlife. I'd guess the holly leaves were about 2" long. This one was exploring along the fence, coming from the field.

    [​IMG]BV9R0447.jpg by Pete, on Flickr
    RovingMike likes this.
  13. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Filigree Siberian hamster.
    RovingMike, dream_police and Learning like this.
  14. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Well, it's got a yellow collar round its neck now...
    Catriona likes this.
  15. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    You have rats in Spain don't you or did Franco have them all shot?
  16. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    When they were building our flats, the builders had a way of dealing with rats nests in what was going to be the lawn and under the foundations - they pumped them full of concrete!

    If there are any archaeologists around a long time in the future, they are in for a surprise! :eek:;)
    RovingMike and Catriona like this.

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