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"Old balls please"

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:21 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

As viewers across Britain settle down to another week of Wimbledon - I wonder how many of them have ever wondered what happens to the old tennis balls?

It turns out that RSPB Wales has found an ingenious use for them.

Local residents in the Newport area are being asked to donate old tennis balls so they can be used to provide homes and shelter for harvest mice at the Newport Wetlands Reserve, which I visited back in March.

Anyone for tennis?

RSPB and CCW staff make a small entrance hole in the balls, cut another slot so a stick can be threaded through and then stand them about one metre above ground level in the reedbeds.

To make things more comfortable - the balls are stuffed with hay and some bird seed is added as a final, welcoming touch. What mouse could resist?

A harvest mouse in a natural nest by Mike Lane, (RSPB- images.com)

It's a tried and tested method though and helps with the monitoring as the balls are easy to find and check.

Anyone with spare tennis balls is being asked to take them to the nature reserve on West Nash Road near Newport and hand them in at reception.

30 - love



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