Field Mouse – Luch Fhéir
Females are does, males are bucks and babies are called pinkies because of their bright pink colour. The average lifespan of an Irish field mouse is thought to be only 20 months long. There are two species of mice in Ireland, the common house mouse and the wood mouse or field mouse. They are one of the smallest mammals on our island and absolutely adorable in my eyes!
Field mice have larger eyes, ears and a much longer tail, their hind legs are also much larger in proportion to their body size measuring up to 3cm in length in comparison to the house mouse. They have four toes on their front feet and five on their back feet. They have excellent vision and smell. Movement can be described as fast and alert with an ability to leap, swim and climb when necessary.
As the name suggests they can be found in an Irish woodland type such as coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests, hedgerows, agricultural land, sand dunes, bramble and bracken scrub, gardens, blanket bog and open grasslands. The only habitat areas which are unsuitable for wood mice are waterlogged lands. Underground burrows are dug in soft ground and can contain a number of tunnels and chambers, some chambers act as food stores with a nest room located deeper in the earth where it is warmer.
Their diets are composed of seeds such as acorns, beech mast and conifer seeds, fruits, berries, buds, fungi, nuts, roots, cereals and bulbs. They will also hunt earthworms, snails, centipedes and insects. They use pathways to travel to foraging areas and to return with surplus food for storage underground.