Long-tailed Field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)

The long-tailed field mouse or wood mouse, as he is sometimes called, occurs across most of Europe including the UK. They are mainly nocturnal, living in woods, fields & hedgerows. Only occasionally will they visit houses and then only when hungry & in the absence of house mice.

This little fellow jumped across the floor of the horse barn as I was shutting up for the night:

_MG_7687-08Mar09-edit   click image for larger view …

They have a good jump on them too, managing up to about 3ft, quite something for somebody who is only 3.5 inches long (excl. tail).

Wood mice live in burrows with separate chambers for breeding, food storage and toilets. Food types include berries, seeds, grain, nuts, snails, insects and any other opportunistic offerings. Only a few survive the winters but if they do, they may live up to 2 years. Predators are many including foxes, owls cats & weasels.

For those of you interested in the photography:

  • Auto focus & image stabilisation were turned off – the mouse seemed sensitive to the noise
  • I used high speed synch flash at 1/640s to freeze any motion
  • Canon 5D mkII with 70-200L and 1.4 extender
  • 280mm f11 ISO640


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1 Comment

  • Dan Izuka

    April 21, 2009 at 7:56 am Reply

    In Feb 2007, I captured a baby field mouse in my house. It was the size of a thumbnail. I decided to see how long it will live in captivity. It’s now Apr 2009, My daughter named it “Peanut”. It looks just like your picture above. It lives in a 10 gallon aquarium with a metal screen lid. 1 inch of ground corn cob lies on the bottom of the tank. Water provided by a hanging test tube, rubber stopper and glass straw. This keeps the tank dry. We have a solid plastic hamster wheel that it uses for exercise mostly at night. Small wood blocks for it to chew on. About 10 toilet paper tubes that it runs through and is very fast. Paper tissues that it shreds for bedding. We feed it hamster and gerbil food. From a stand still it can jump straight up and walk upside down on the screened lid. Great little pet, low maintenance. We have not handled the mouse, in fear that it can get away. It’s still a wild animal. We live in Cleveland, Ohio – USA

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