One day in 1785, as Scottish poet Robert Burns was tilling his fields when he unexpectedly upturned a mouse’s nest and, rather than reach for a killing strike, he fell into melancholy for the poor mouse, deprived of its winter lodgings. The result is one of the most well-known poems in the English (and Scots) language, "To a Mouse".
Most people, upon finding a mouse in their yard or home, would probably feel differently and would seek any number of solutions to rid them of the rodent visitor, including traps, cats and pesticide. UK-based wildlife photographer Simon Dell (nicknamed “Mr. Tographer”) is not any person, though, and when he found a mouse in his yard, he was struck by a muse, much like Burns’.
Instead of calling an exterminator, Dell decided he was going to build the mouse a shelter, which quickly turned to a complete hobbit village, as he found that not one, but a whole family of mice had made their home in his yard. The houses are adorable, full of minute details, furniture and even a miniature figure of Dell himself to keep the mice company!
Dell tries to make sure the mice are as safe as possible from predators. He even put net fences around the perimeter to keep cats away.
Mice are actually very clever animals, they have good memory and keep good hygiene, grooming themselves several times a day. That being said, most mice are unaccustomed to humans, they are not vaccinated against any contagious diseases, and make poor pets.
Dell feeds the mice regularly, giving them freshly-picked berries, nuts and fruit as well as birdseed and worms.
While the mice are certainly appreciative of the food and shelter, they are still wild animals and keep a safe distance from Dell, which is just fine with the nature photographer.
The relationship between the mice and Dell is certainly mutual: the cute little critters get a roof over their heads and an ample supply of food, and Dell gets plenty of adorable photography material.