Wood Mouse
Apodemus sylvaticus
Luch fleir

Known also as Field Mouse and Long-tailed field mouse this 'wild' mouse has been in Ireland much longer than its 'domestic' relative the House mouse. Wood mice will be found wherever suitable habitat can be found - hedgerows, scrubland and woodland; also overgrown gardens. They will occasionally come into houses in the autumn but much less so than the House mouse.

A nest made of dried grass is constructed in a dry place, often in a hole in the ground. Breeding occurs throughout the summer and several litters are reared, with up to half-a-dozen young per litter. The food consists of a rnage of nuts, seeds, fruits and other vegetable matter and small invertebrates are taken as a supplement.

The Wood mouse is easily distinguishable from the House mouse by its warm brown, not greyish, coat. The underparts are white and there is a tan-coloured 'birth mark' on the chest. It is slightly larger and has a finer, more flexible tail than the latter. The dark eyes and flesh-coloured ears are prominent. All in all it is a more attractive animal than the House mouse. Its overall length is about 7in. (17.5cm) of which about half is tail.

House Mouse
Mus musculus
Luch thi

Nowadays no warehouse, farm complex or ruin would be complete without its mice in residence. They are abundant too in granaries and fields with stored hay or cereals. With the first cold weather of the winter House mice enter houses they do not normally occupy and wreak havoc or a period until they can be arrested - dead or alive. They are notorious disease carriers and can eat their way into apparently 'mouse-proof' drawers, cupboards and boxes.

Highly communal, House mice construct nests of any available material in which six or more litters of up to six young are reared throughout the year.

The animal itself is unmistakable, with its greyish upper parts and silvery under parts, though variations do occur - including a sandy-brown type - on the Bull Island, Dublin. The eyes and ears are less prominent than those of the Wood mouse and the tail in the adult is generally stouter than that of the latter. The overall length is 61/2in. (16cm) including tail.