Simon Dell, a photographer, is a lovely host. While photographing birds in his garden one day, he became aware of something moving beneath his feet. “I put my camera at the ground and was astonished but overjoyed to find a very cute little house mouse standing up like a meerkat in the freshly cut grass,” he recalled.
Rather than chasing the creature away, Dell opted to entertain him. He retreated to his residence to grab some peanuts for the mouse because he understood the mouse’s potential star power. “I was sitting there, waiting, and he came out for the snacks in minutes.” Dell then had another idea: he would construct a little shelter for the mouse, now known as George, in which he could “hide and feed.” To begin, the photographer piled small logs around a box and covered it in moss and straw. (The logs shielded George from a curious cat who was lurking nearby.)
Dell discovered another mouse in the shelter a few of days after constructing it. “I chose to build them a home because I wanted to provide them with a safe haven in the garden where they wouldn’t be preyed upon by cats or other animals.” For both the mouse and Dell, it was a win-win situation. “As a wildlife photographer, I wanted to establish a pleasing environment for whatever photographs I might take.” He built little houses out of wood and hollowed-out fruit, as well as small props for them to engage with. The resulting images of the mice are charming; they appear to have returned Dell’s charity by posing nicely among their feast of berries and apples.
Dell has since increased the number of mice homes available. There are now more of them, and one of them appears to be pregnant. “Knowing that mice may have up to 14 babies,” he continues, “I could be building a lot more log pile rooms.” “However, I have plenty of room and don’t mind sharing it with such adorable and attractive pets.”
It wasn’t the first time Dell had dealt with mice in this picturesque community. Stuart was the name he and his family gave to another mouse who lived in his garden shed. Stuart departed the garden in the spring of 2018, but Dell is hoping he returns to meet the new mice. Until then, the images will have to suffice.
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