When wildlife photographer, Simon Dell came across an adorable mouse family, he knew he had just found photography gold.
While many would hop by the store in order to get traps, this incredible man decided to do something completely different. Dell brought his toolbox and started to build something amazing just for the tiny creature.
It was a give and take relationship; the kindhearted photographer built them a miniature village, and they posed adorably for the camera.
The love story started when he was taking photos of birds in his garden until he saw tiny creatures running on his grass. He pointed the camera immediately at the moving object and was surprised to see an adorable house mouse posing just like a meerkat.
Something about this mouse made Dell feel like this tiny critter was going to be a star. And so, he ran back home to get some delicious peanuts to treat the four-legged guest. It didn’t take long till he came out for the peanuts.
It was a lightbulb moment for Dell; at that moment, he decided to build the sweet mouse a safe home. It wasn’t the first time Dell interacted with a mouse.
He used to have a wood mouse named Stuart living in his garden shed, and he also used to take photos of mice every now and then. Stuart was a single mouse at first, till one day, he found a mate.
Dell enjoys having wildlife guests in his garden. He has various kinds of birds coming to say hello; from blackbirds to robins, he is really blessed. There are a lovely fox, squirrels, and hedgehogs coming as well.
The meerkat mouse was alone the first time Dell saw him. He decided to call him George and started to pile logs around a box to build him a home. When he realized cats were lurking at him from across the fence, he decided to put some wire fencing along the fence so they wouldn’t get sweet George.
Dell’s dog was also guarding the mouse by keeping the cats away. But the mouse lover felt like it wasn’t enough; he wanted to build the mice, something that will keep them safe. The photographer knew he would blame himself if they fall prey since they went out to get his food, and the fact that he’s a wildlife photographer made him want to build not just a safe place but a nice looking habitat as well.
It took Dell about an hour to build the first stage of the log pile. During the following days, more mice came to check the new habitat, and so he added more rooms. Dell built 3 exits so they could run in and out whenever needed. Seemingly, the mice spread the rumor as more mice came to stay at Dell’s log pile.
He didn’t stop there; he adjusted the habitat so it would be ready for a frigid winter and to allow them to keep warm and survive the rough weather.
Dell has counted about five mice, not including the female, Mildred, who had a pregnant tummy. During wintertime, he gives them feathers from a pillow to keep them warm and cozy on the cold UK winter.
It seems like the mice love their handmade log pile and spend lots of time in it. Even though Dell spends lots of time helping them, they still run when he gets closer, but sometimes he manages to sit by them, just a few feet away, managing to take adorable shots.
He usually gives them natural food that he picks just for them from the Shire Brook Valley Local Nature Reserve. And when they are “good boys,” he treats them with dry mealworms and suet pellets.
By getting closer to the mouse family, he gains more valuable photography skills, such as controlling the camera and understanding the settings. Moreover, he learns how to understand the wildlife he is capturing.
Since it’s winter now, they come out less often, and when it gets dark, it’s even harder to see them. But during the day, he is lucky enough to see them come out for food and watch them munching.