Quick facts

Common names: yellow-necked mouse

Scientific name: Apodemus flavicollis

Family: Muridae

Habitat: mature and ancient woodland

Diet: seeds, nuts, fruit and invertebrates

Predators: foxes, weasels and owls

Origin: native

What do yellow-necked mice look like?

The yellow-necked mouse has light-brown fur with white underparts, and a band of yellow fur around its neck which earned the species its name. It also has a long tail and large eyes and ears to help it detect predators.

It can be confused with the wood mouse, which lacks the yellow band around the neck and is somewhat smaller. However, these differences are difficult to spot without close observation.

What do yellow-necked mice eat?

Yellow-necked mice eat a wide range of food, including insects and other invertebrates, nuts, seeds, fruit and bulbs.

Did you know?

These mice can shed the skin of their tail to escape attack. However, this trick can only be used once as the skin does not grow back.

Yellow-necked mouse nest with a litter of young mice

Credit: M J Bloomfield / Alamy Stock Photo

How do yellow-necked mice breed?

Like most rodents, yellow-necked mice reproduce at a very high rate. A single female may give birth to multiple litters of 2–11 young in the space of 12 months. This compensates for the fact that most will live no longer than a year, with many falling prey to predators.

Did you know?

Yellow-necked mice are very agile. They can leap a metre into the air to avoid predators.

Where do yellow-necked mice live?

Yellow-necked mice are only found in South East England, parts of the Midlands and southern and central Wales. They rely on mature woodland habitat and spend much of their time foraging in trees for food. These mice also develop extensive burrow systems, often built within tree roots and under dead wood.

Yellow-necked mouse looking alert jumping down from branch

Credit: Andrew Darrington / Alamy Stock Photo

Signs and spotting tips

Yellow-necked mice are nocturnal and rarely move into the open, so your chance of seeing one is quite slim. They occasionally venture into buildings, especially during the winter months.

Yellow-necked mouse standing on log

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Are you curious about what mouse you saw in your garden or out on a walk? Or did your cat bring one in and you wondered what it was? Here's a quick guide to the more common mice, voles and shrews of the UK.

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Did you know?

The yellow-necked mouse was only identified as a separate species from the wood mouse in 1834.

Threats and conservation

The species is not of conservation concern, although the loss and damage of mature and ancient woodland threatens its habitat.

It’s been suggested that yellow-necked mice numbers may be increasing. The species might be benefiting from climate change, as warmer temperatures mean more food is available.