The Yellow-necked Mouse Apodemus flavicollis is like a large, active Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus with, as the name suggests, a yellow collar on the underside of the neck. This collar stretches from the brown colour of the upper side across the chest. The mouse is found in southern England but in the past may have had a wider distribution. It is an animal of mature woodlands but is more inclined to take up accommodation in human habitation than the Wood Mouse.
It is possible that remains found during excavations of Roman buildings in South Shields belong to Yellow-necked Mice. This suggestion was made due to the size of incisor teeth found there (Younger, 1994). There are possibly two recent references to it in the North East. Marsh and Montgomery (in Harris and Yalden, 2008) refer to a record from Riding Mill in Northumberland, for which there is a skin in the Natural History Museum (NHM). They suggest that the animal may have been accidentally carried there. Lever (1977) refers to an animal obtained near Sunderland in 1911 for which there is also a skin in the NHM. It is possible that these refer to the same skin even though Riding Mill is 32 miles from Sunderland. Apart from these the nearest records to the North East are in Cheshire (1957), Derbyshire (1950), Leicestershire (1950) and Lincolnshire (1956) (Lever, 1977). There is however some evidence that they may be present in Yorkshire, perhaps as far north as Thirsk (Brown, 1985).
Written by Don Griss (last updated Nov 12)