Motorway mice or rather motorway voles

Mouse on grass

Coming back from our trip to Maubuisson we stopped on the motorway to stretch our legs and have a cup of coffee.  I settled down at an outside picnic table to sip my coffee when I thought I saw something run across the grass.

Mouse in hole

It was then that I noticed that there were a large number of holes in the grass.  The sun was setting and it was not too easy to see into the holes.

Mouse looks out hole

A little bit of patience paid off.

Mouse sits in hole

I realised that a picnic area could provide mice with a good supply of food and I thought of all the sandwiches and biscuits that would be accidentally dropped from the picnic tables every day.

Mouse coming out of hole

Nobody else seemed to have noticed them.  I suppose people were content with their drinks and ice creams.

Mouse on grass

They were well camouflaged as they scuttled across the sun baked grass.

Mouse slides into hole

They exited from one hole and soon found another to dive into.

Mouse close up

I’m not sure how many people would have appreciated sharing the picnic area with the mice (short tailed voles, Microtis agrestis) but I enjoyed watching their antics and let my coffee get cold.

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24 thoughts on “Motorway mice or rather motorway voles

    • Susan has come to my aid again, so I would like to let you know that they are not mice but short tailed voles. Like you I see the occasional mouse in the garden. sometimes they appear when I am watering and scuttle off disgusted with their impromptu shower.

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  1. These are Short-tailed Voles Microtis agrestis, not mice. I am most impressed with your photos — they are not easy to capture with the camera as they move so fast. I wrote about the ones that live in my orchard here.

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  2. Thank you, once more, Susan. I did think they looked a bit different from our grey mice I sometimes see in the garden. I’m not too good separating the mice, voles and shrews. I had never heard of putting down shelter for them in the garden. It is a very good idea.

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  3. Nice pictures! Voles are very cute. I used to have several in my yard, even had a few that would come up to me and take nuts right from my hand (I got it on video too). Haven’t seen some in a while though. 😦 We have a lot of hawks and a fox in the neighborhood now.

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    • That is amazing to have them as tame as that. Susan encourages them by putting out sheets of corrugated iron and planks in her woodland area to give them shelter. Maybe you could tempt them back by providing them with something like that. She also writes that they are a favourite prey of owls 😦

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  4. How sweet! We get both mice and voles in our garden, but thank goodness not in large numbers. They are so fast I hardly get a chance to look at them to identify them! The holes they make are the tell-tale signs. These motorway mice/voles have chosen a good spot – nice photos!

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  5. The lawn margins and meadow where I work are riddled with vole holes, Amelia. I’m still hopeful that in time owls will move in. Though I hear tawnies often (from lunchtime onwards) I have yet to see one. Dave

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