Photographer Simon Dell recently discovered a family of mice in his garden. Instead of setting up traps, he decided to try something different.
Dell built a miniature village for the mice to live in, and in return, his stunt paid off with some magnificent and awe-inspiring photographs.
Dell was out taking photos of birds in his garden when he noticed something moving on the ground. After pointing his camera toward the action, he was pleasantly surprised to find a cute little house mouse standing up.
Dell ran back inside and grabbed a couple of peanuts to put down for him. After a few minutes, the mouse came out for the treats.
“It was at that point I thought I would give him a little shelter and safe place to hide and feed.”
“I had a bit of experience taking photos of wildlife and mice as I also had another mouse that used to live in my garden shed and only come out after dark. He was a wood mouse and we named him Stuart.”
“He was once a single mouse but he left at the start of spring 2018, maybe to find a mate. Hoping he comes back this winter and maybe he could get to know the new mice in the garden.”
“We also have a fox that visits every night and a lot of hedgehogs and squirrels.”
“At first there was just the one mouse. He had a cut in his ear and we called him George. I piled some small logs around a box as a home for the mouse and covered it with moss and straw to give him a little shelter.”
“I could see the cats sitting just feet away at the other side of a fence so the log pile also gave him a bit more safety.”
“I then put up some wire fencing along the fence so there was no way the cats could get to the mouse. I also have a small Jack Russell Terrier dog so the cats know not to come in the garden and the dog pays the mice no attention.”
“A couple of days later, I noticed there could be more than one mouse inside the log pile and it was not long ’till they both came out for a bit of food.”
“I decided to build them a home as I wanted to give them a safe place in the garden and not fall prey to cats or other animals. Also, as I was feeding the mice it was the right thing to do as I would feel it was my fault getting them to come out if they became prey. Being a wildlife photographer, I wanted to create a nice looking habitat for any pictures I would take.”
“The first stage of the log pile was very easy and only took an hour or so to make. As more mice came the following days, however, I made changes, adding more rooms. The inside of the box structure has 2-3 ways in and out, so they can escape if need be. Over the weeks and months, the log pile village has been steadily growing.”
“I added more space and made it ready for a cold winter, giving the mice the best chance possible to survive. I have counted around 5 or more mice and the female, Mildred, is looking very pregnant so hoping we will have a large litter of baby mice around Christmas.”
“Knowing mice can have up to 14 babies, I could be building many more log pile rooms. But I have space and don’t mind living alongside such cute and very photogenic little critters.”
“The mice seem to love the log pile homes and wasted no time in moving in. They are wild animals so they still run if I get too close or move too fast but often I manage to sit down just a few feet away with a zoom lens and they seem happy to pop in and out for nuts a seed.”
“The mice are still here and living a very happy life. It is winter now, so the days are shorter and they come out less often. Once it gets dark, it can be hard to see them. However, I see them come out in the day for food and it is always all gone by the next morning. I also give them handfuls of feathers from an old pillow and they take that to line their beds inside and keep them warm on these cold UK winter nights.”
The mice even have their own Facebook page.