Survey of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) on the Isle of Rum

Pankhurst, Sheila, Conlan, Hilary, Rogers, Matthew and Smith, Andrew (2010) Survey of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) on the Isle of Rum. Scottish Natural Heritage. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

There is currently little knowledge of the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) population on the Isle of Rum (Inner Hebrides, Scotland). Informal monitoring suggests that the mice on the island are larger than their mainland conspecifics, and also that wood mice on Rum are found living at higher altitudes than on the mainland.
In 2009, SNH staff on Rum invited the Department of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University to carry out a pilot survey of the wood mice on Rum, using live trapping to determine distribution and abundance. An important objective of this survey was to provide information about the likely consequences for the Rum wood mouse population of proposed rat control measures on the island.

The main findings of this survey were as follows:
Wood mice were found at all sites (n= 8) surveyed on Rum, from just above sea level to above 450m in the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) nesting colonies.
Wood mice were most abundant in areas of mature mixed woodland, but were also found in other habitats such as coniferous woodland and Molinia-dominated wet grasslands, and in areas where there has been no permanent human habitation for several decades.
Trap damage sustained during this survey indicates possible brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) predation of wood mice on Rum. The implications of this finding, in relation to proposed future rat control on Rum, are discussed.
Morphological data obtained during this study show that the wood mice on Rum are particularly large (a number of adult mice captured, of both sexes, had body weights of >30g). There was a significant difference in size between mice found around human habitation at low altitudes, and the (larger) mice living at high altitudes on Rum in the shearwater colonies.
Recommendations for further research into the wood mice on Rum are outlined.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Scottish Natural Heritage
Related URL(s):
Departments: Research Office
Depositing User: Sheila Pankhurst
Date Deposited: 20 May 2016 09:10
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2017 05:41
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2191

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