Definitely a mouse

Definitely a mouse

I’ve been trying to work out whether the impudent rodents wandering my garden are rats or mice. It seems like both are probably visitors, but there’s no ambiguity about which this one is.  He wouldn’t sit still long enough for an in-focus picture, but he ran about near my feet quite unconcerned.  I think he believes it’s his garden, and returned to his comrades with a tale about the impudent human wandering about in broad daylight.

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Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie, O, what panic's in thy breastie!

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie, O, what panic's in thy breastie!

This fellow came to watch me tidy my square foot of lawn and patio edges (a job so long overdue that it was probably advertised in rodent-world as a once-in a lifetime experience.) I noticed him slowly make his way across the patio from I-don’t-know-where. He looked a bit dazed and as if he had bigger things to worry about than my presence or that of the growling lawnmower – I’m guessing either a recent run-in with next door’s cat or an existential crisis – and sat motionless under the sage for at least ten minutes.

I think it is a full-grown mouse, rather than a young rat, though that might be wishful thinking.  I find it very hard to tell the difference. Any rodent identification experts out there?

Last week, I found two dead rodents in a bucket that had filled up with water in the rain – but these were definitely rats, twice the size of this fellow. I don’t think there’s anything in particular in my garden to attract rats (the compost bin is well-sealed and only contain garden waste), but we’re told that you’re only ever 10 metres from a rat in London.

parakeet

(Who told us this, and when they told us, I don’t know, but it’s been repeated many times, by many people, so it must be true. Except some of those that tell us these things say six feet not ten metres, which even if you’re not good at your imperial/metric conversions is clearly uncomfortably closer. Sometimes I wonder how I get to work each day without my rat-waders on…)

On the right is a glorious character I’ve never seen stop inside my garden, but I certainly hear a lot from her and her hooligan friends. Someone down the street puts out peanuts for the local gang of parakeets, and they drop the shells on my runner beans as they joy-ride overhead.