About the mammals on Mykines
There are only 2 wild species of terrestrial mammals on Mykines. It is the house mouse and the hare. Apart from that, there are the domestic mammals, sheep, cow, horse, dog and cat.
All most daily one see the 2 species of seals, which are seen around the Faroes, spotted seal and grey seal.
One can also be so fortunate to see whales. Killer whales, pilot pilot whales, porpoises and, more seldom, fin whales, sperm whales and humpback whales.
About the terrestrial mammals on Mykines.
The house mouse.
It is not known for how long there have been house mouses on Mykines. The vicar Landt in his
"Forsøg til en beskrivelse over Færøerne" (A trial to a description of the Faroes) from 1800 states, that there were no house mice on Mykines at that time. Whether this is true, is not possibly to say anything about now, but it dosn´t seem probably. Modern DNA technologies, have shown interesting result. The distribution of house mouse can be taken as a proof of the way The Faroes have been colonised, as the house mouse have followed man. Genetical investigation of faroese people have shown, that the men came from Norway while the Faroese women came from Ireland.
The house mouse can be divided in two different races, western mouse and eastern mouse. The eastern mouse comes from Norway while the western mouse comes from Germany and England and now a days can be found in Mykines, on Nolsoy, Hestur and Fugloy, while the rest og the faroese mouse are mixtures of western mouse and eastern mouse. If it is true, what Landt writes, it is interesting, that the Mykines mouse in just 200 years have developed to a race of its own with it own name, Mus Musculus Mykinessiensis. But more probably, it is a development, which have taken closer to 1000 years. The Mykines house mouse is nowadays seen all around the island in an unknown number. It can be seen in the houses, in the houses for drying the sheep meat and in the open nature, the puffins lands and at least in a considerable number in Borgardalur.
The house mouse of Mykines is considered to be a race of its own with special and significant characteristics. Of these one must mention that the tale is very long and the hind legs are especial long and powerful probably giving the mouse extra power for jumping. The color is also different from its ancestor, the common house mouse, as it is more brownish and have a lighter tinted bellow. Likewise it is interesting, that their inner nose openings are more conical than on other house mice, a trait it has in common with the mice of St. Kilda, the most western, isolated island in the Hebrides! It is assumed, that the Mykines and St. Kilda house mice are the representatives of the eldest of Europe's house mice.
Normally one don't see much to them, but they can be seen in cellars and drying houses for sheep meat, where an ongoing fight against both the mouse and the starlings takes place. The mice can pass through the smallest openings, a hole of only 16 millimeters diameter it said to be enough.
Read more about the house mouse on the Faroese here (in Faroese): And here (in English).
The hares on Mykines are found in a little but apparently stable number. They probably live on the margins as the number is not increasing and they have never been hunted.
The first hares were brought to Mykines as late as 1965.
The hares live at quite high altitudes in the outfield, in 400 to 500 meters hight and are most often seen around Knukur in the great slope of rocks and stones, where the radio and antenna house is situated. But they can also be seen in the lower parts of the outfield. Normally only one is seen at a time, running quickly from its hiding place behind or under a stone, trying to come to a more secure distance from one.
The hares on Mykines stem from the same hares that one sees an the other Faroese islands and which were brought to the Faroes from the
Norwegian island Kragerø in the 1850'ies. It was snow hares, who in the beginning also became white in the winter, but they now only are grey in the winter, because of many years of natural selection.
Pictures of hares from Mykines
The sea mammals around Mykines.
If one goes to the Holm, then on the narrow land before the stair down to Lamba, one often hear and see the seals on the small skerries north of the Holm. And that at all seasons. Just outside the landingplace, just outside the Holmgjogv with the little skerry one often can see them
quite close and one get the impression, especially if one is in a bout, that they are quite curious. One see their head with the big black
eyes looking directly at one and if one whistle, they seem to be even more curious.
In former time they were systematically hunted and the hunters were paid for the number of jaws they presented, as the seal were thought to be a danger for the fishery. The hunt was performed by killing the cubs in the caves in which they were brought up in the first time of their
life. Now they are occasionally hunted by rifle and their meat tastes quite good.
If one is lucky, it is possible to see around 300 seals at one time on the skerries north and west of Mykines Holm, where they are
lying to dry, rest and sleep. All though they can be quite noisy. It can be a beautifully sight in calm and sunny weather to see them
swim in the clear water west of the Holm, north of Uti a Bølið in the little bay below the Lighthouse.
Pictures of seals on sherries around Mykines
Almost every year there is reported sights of whales in the sea around Mykines.
For some years ago 16 pilot whales were killed in Lendingergjogv. In the late 90'ies, Sulan departing from Mykines met a group of pilot whales just outside Lendingergjogv, from where they were driven to Bøur in Sørvags Fjorður, where they were killed.
Several times in the late years, there have been seen killer whales very close to the shoreline of Mykines. Once some men gathering sheep saw five killer whales swimming along the coast and in between the skerries on the south cost just east of the village.
In the year 2000 a humpback whale was seen just hundred meters from the north coast of Mykines Holm, close to Holmgjogv and some days
later some men in a boat, just outside the village, also saw one, the same?
In the late 90'ies some fin whales and a sperm whale were seen in the waters just south of Mykines. There was at least 2 fins swimming westward while the sperm whale was more far out, but not longer than it could be seen, how the the blast was directed sideways as the sperm whales blast is.