Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wood Mouse

Apodemus sylvaticus
The Wood Mouse is an incredibly common rodent in Europe. They have a range that extends across the continent, including the British Isles. The can even be found in northern Africa. It should come as no surprise that they are amazingly adaptable, and can be found in most habitats.

The most remarkable thing about the Wood Mouse is its breeding season. They are actually "in season" for 3/4 of the entire year! From February until October these mice are constantly reproducing. A female can produce seven litters of up to nine offspring each during that time. Young Mice born early in the season might start breeding themselves before it is even over!

It is a good thing that these rodents breed so quickly-- they have very short lifespans, typically no more than 2 years. They also have more predators than I can count. To keep from being some foxes snack, the Mice have tail skin that can rub off if grabbed. They also store their food (mainly seeds) and sleep in underground tunnel systems, which give them some shelter during the daytime.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, North Africa
Size : Body length up to 10cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Muridae -- Genus : Apodemus -- Species : A. sylvaticus
Image : Sandy Rae

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