Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family:    Muridae
Size:    Length: 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) not including tail, which may be 4 inches (10 cm) itself
Weight: Up to 1 ounce (28 g)
Diet: Roots, seeds, berries, nuts, fruit, vegetables, grain, and sometimes insects
Distribution: Europe, Asia, northwestern Africa and eastern North America
Young:  3 to 7 young, up to 4 times per year
Animal Predators:  Hawks, owls, kestrels, stoats, martins, badgers, snakes, skunks, foxes, weasels and domestic cats
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: No special terms
Lifespan: Up to 1 year in the wild and 4 years in captivity



·        The lightly-furred tail of the wood mouse is longer than that of other mouse species.

·        The wood mouse is also known as long-tailed field mouse and old world wood mouse.

·        They can often be seen washing and grooming themselves.



Although very similar to the house mouse, wood mice have bigger ears, eyes and hind feet. They have sandy brown-coloured fur with white undersides and white feet. They have a small streak of yellow on their white chest fur.  Like all rodents, their incisors constantly grow and are self-sharpening. 



Wood mice are found in nearly every corner of Europe, including Great Britain, with the exception of northern Scandinavia. Their range may extend as far as Asia and northwestern Africa. They may also be found in eastern North America due to pet wood mice getting loose and establishing feral populations. Wood mice live outdoors in underground burrows that may have been used by members of their family for generations; with modifications and enlargements made with each generation. Within the burrows are nesting chambers lined with leaves and grass, and food storage areas. Wood mice often inhabit fields or woodlands, but when the approaching winter gives signs of being especially harsh, wood mice may move indoors into human dwellings. 


Feeding Habits

Wood mice sometimes get into gardens when food is scarce to eat the fruit and vegetables, but if small boxes of cereal are left around the garden, the mice will eat from those instead and leave the garden plants alone. Wood mice are mostly herbivorous, eating roots, seeds, berries, nuts and grain, but they may also eat insects if other food is not available. They are primarily nocturnal feeders. 



Mating can take place throughout the year, but occurs especially during warm weather from March to November, or when mice find heated shelter indoors for the winter. One female may have as many as four litters per year. After a three to four week pregnancy, she gives birth to several tiny babies, sparsely covered with fur. Their eyes are closed, but open in approximately two weeks. The youngsters are weaned as early as three weeks and grow to full size by the age of two months, when they begin to breed. Few wood mice live longer than one year in the wild, due to the abundance of predators. 



Wood mice are agile little creatures, able to jump, climb and even swim. They move quickly and sometimes hop using only their hind legs, but at other times they run using all four legs. They live in communal burrows, although a female may bar adult males from entering her burrow after she gives birth to a litter.



Wood mice are Europe’s most common wild rodents and are not a conservation concern. 








Wood Mouse Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US