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Rodent Rascals - changing our perception

By Charley Bird

This season at Severn Wildlife Rescue so far, we have rescued five house mice, five wood mice, and four common brown rats. Many view rodents, mice and rats in particular, as nuisances; "pests that ought to be controlled".

At Severn Wildlife Rescue, though we understand the difficulties these animals cause humans sometimes, we believe that these animals should not be discriminated against. We are a proudly anti-speciesist organisation and will rescue all wildlife we are legally allowed to, regardless of conservation status and public opinion.

Mice and rats can be a source of great annoyance when they get into human households. Rats are also known carriers of disease and are known to attack other wildlife, such as hedgehogs. When rehabilitating and releasing these creatures we always take these factors into account, releasing them in areas we know they will not cause problems.

As a species, we are accountable for the boom of "pest" species. Throughout time we have depleted and removed their natural predators such as wolves; even now birds of prey are persecuted up and down the country and as a result their numbers are dwindling. We have also continued to expand our living range, further and further into wild country, into areas that previously sustained many wild species.

As a result, we must now learn to live alongside these animals and not blame them for their mere presence in our lives. We do not believe any animal should be judged or killed when they are instinctively just trying to survive, even if their behaviours and presence can be a nuisance.

Many species rely on rodents as a food source and by persecuting them, by putting out a range of poisons we tend to do more harm than good causing a ripple effect on our ecosystem and effecting wildlife populations. Birds of prey are a perfect example of this, they are reliant on rodents for food and have been harmed indirectly due to humans putting out traps and poisons for their food source.

If you have a rat or mouse problem we will always recommend you to use humane traps where possible and if you catch a mouse or a rat to release it a few miles away in good habitat where it can thrive.

We will continue to rescue our UK rodents as at Severn Wildlife Rescue we believe that no life should matter less than any other. Every animal deserves a second chance to be wild no matter our perception of them.

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