Nature: How do I solve this woodmouse dilemma?

PUBLISHED: 11:27 09 December 2017

Woodmouse: Pam Taylor has a problem with a persistent visitor...

Woodmouse: Pam Taylor has a problem with a persistent visitor...

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Nature: A woodmouse that won’t give up is proving a headache for Pam Taylor.

I’ve been out and about quite a bit during recent evenings and these nocturnal travels have revealed some interesting sights. The red deer I occasionally encounter during the day are far more evident after dark, though all I usually see is their eye-shine reflected back from my headlights and their shadowy shapes milling around in a field.

Chinese water deer also appear both by day and by night, but they seem far less intelligent after dark. They stroll across roads apparently oblivious to oncoming cars, so it’s no wonder so many become roadside casualties. Muntjac are a little more sensible, usually dashing away at the first sound of an engine. In trees above the road I sometimes see barn owls or tawny owls perched.

We used to have a small population of rabbits living on the edge of the marsh here, but after myxomatosis wiped out the colony and the ground became wetter, I believed rabbits to be lost from this area. I was proved wrong just the other evening though, when I saw a couple of rabbits feeding not far from my gateway.

One unwelcome nightly visitor is the woodmouse in the barn. For nearly a week I’ve found one in my live trap each morning and taken it some distance away to the woods before release.

After the first three days I started to wonder if I might be trapping the same mouse or mice repeatedly, despite my efforts at relocation, so I started to mark those I caught. On my first attempt the mouse leapt from the trap before I could dab any mark on, but the next day my catch left with a small white dot on its rear. The following morning the trapped mouse seemed unmarked, but had it managed to clean off the white dot? I made more of an effort to get a good mark on this one before release and sure enough, the same individual was back in the trap next morning.

Now I have a dilemma. Do I continue the live trapping, but increase the distance I take them before release, or do I resort to a more permanent means of preserving the stored corn sacks and apples in my barn?

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