Tale of two bold mice an online hit
Published 08/11/2011 | 12:31
Two brave mice are creating a stir on the internet after setting up home in an owls' nest.
The wood mice moved into the Barn Owl Tower, which was specially constructed for the nocturnal birds at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.
And their antics are being captured thanks to a "Mouse Cam" set up to watch them on the tourist attraction's website, www.heliganwild.com.
Daily hits on the website have doubled since the introduction of the cameras, fuelled perhaps by people wanting to see the mice meet a grisly end.
The gardens' managing director, Peter Stafford, said: "For the autumn our team have moved the cameras underground to show life for a mouse.
"It's perhaps not the wisest place for the creatures to make their home but it makes for fascinating viewing."
Fortunately for the mice - a major food source for the birds of prey - there are currently no barn owls in residence, though earlier this year the webcam followed the latest brood courting and raising their young.
In 2007, viewers of the BBC Springwatch programme saw Hannibal, one of the barn owl chicks, eat his siblings alive.
Heligan Wild is situated in a hide in the middle of the estate near St Austell, designed to give visitors close and intimate views of the wildlife, either immediately outside or through a selection of remote cameras placed around the site.