Friday, 30 October 2009

Never Pick Up a Wood Mouse by its Tail


Someone on the Wild About Britain forums told me this: that if you grab a wood mouse's tail, the skin sloughs off painfully, and then that portion of the tail dies and falls away. I found this dead wood mouse in a field and tried to move it so I could take a picture, and sure enough, away came the tail skin. It's a survival strategy, but a costly one. The correct way to hold a wood mouse is by its scruff, like the yellow-necked mouse and bank vole here: http://urbanextension.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/a-morning-with-mice-voles-shrews-moths-at-corfe-mullen-meadow-reserve/
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Short walk this afternoon down Edgeley Road revealed this water vole latrine. It seems very late in the year to be seeing latrines. Does that mean late-breeding females?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Found a dead one in the garden today, a bit wet and it's tail was also missing?

Kate said...

I expect it had been pulled off by a predator. A cat, maybe? Who knows.

WrexTheDragon said...

I have put a photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/44233922@N04/4063933573/

Kate said...

That's very similar to mine, yes. Poor wood mice: their role is to be eaten!

What's the photo on Quoisely Bridge? It looks like musteid scat.

WrexTheDragon said...

The Quoisely photo was taken last Monday 26th under the bridge.

Lots of it about.

Kate said...

I'll go check it out! It could be mink, as there have been mink round there, but it might also be otter. A sniff would soon tell you which it was!

Kate said...

Is this the bridge which goes across the A49?

WrexTheDragon said...

No noticeable smell, but it is a wide bridge.

It is the one on the A49.

Kate said...

There IS a lot there! I've posted about it. Thanks for the tip-off.