Harvest mice in Leicestershire get tennis ball homes
Old tennis balls are being used to help research and preservation of harvest mice in Leicestershire and Rutland.
The county council, concerned about the decline in numbers, has prepared around 200 balls with penny-sized holes for the mice to nest in.
Members of the public are being encouraged to report sightings of the creatures so records can be built up.
It is thought a change in farming methods has led to the mice losing their habitats.'Safeguard future'
The project is believed to be one of the biggest of its kind ever run in Leicestershire.
County Council wildlife expert, Helen O'Brien, said: "Little is known about the creatures' current status locally so we need people to look in tall grass and fields and send in their information.
"The data will help us track numbers and tell us where we need to focus our attention to safeguard their future."
The balls, donated by a local tennis club, are available for surveyors to distribute and monitor.
Anybody interested in taking part in the scheme can attend a training day at the county councils's environmental resource centre in Birstall on 14 June.