7 things you didn’t know about the wood mouse
Discover fantastic facts about the most common native rodent in Britain.
1 Pip pip
Wood mice love soft fruits, but they only take the pips, leaving the pulp intact. It’s a useful clue to what is ravaging your strawberries. They also eat nuts, shoots, fungi and invertebrates.
2 Navigation aids
Wood mice place conspicuous objects such as leaves or twigs at key positions in their territory. No other animal, apart from humans, is known to perform such way-marking behaviour.
3 Little helpers
Male wood mice have remarkably cooperative sperm. By hooking together in trains of hundreds or thousands of cells, they are able to swim faster than single sperm.
4 Flexible accommodation
The rodent's alternative common name - long-tailed field mouse - betrays the fact that it is not restricted to woodland. It can also thrive on sand dunes, moorland and in gardens and houses.
5 Restless sleep
Wood mice do not hibernate, although they can enter periods of torpor if conditions get really tough. Breeding may continue through the winter if food is plentiful, following a heavy acorn crop, for example.
6 Male grooming
Grooming plays an important role in wood mouse society. Males groom females more often than vice versa, a behaviour that allows males to get close to females and to monitor their reproductive state.
7 Trick of the tail
As a last-ditch escape strategy, a wood mouse is able to shed the skin of its tail, which cannot regrow. It's better to pick them up by the scruff of the neck.