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Photo of two mice fighting over a crumb wins photography award

Mouse-fight in the house!

Wildlife photographer Sam Rowley won the Lumix People's Choice Award for wildlife photography for this photo of two mice fighting over a crumb in a London Underground station.
Courtesy Sam Rowley

No more Mr. Mice Guy. A split-second mouse-fight on a platform of the London Underground helped its photographer win big. Wildlife photographer Sam Rowley won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 55 Lumix People's Choice Award for the photo, dubbed Station Squabble. (Lumix is Panasonic's brand of digital cameras.) The marauding mice beat out 48,000 entrants and then topped a shortlist of 25 entries to take the top prize in the contest, which is run by London's Natural History Museum.

Rowley told me he thinks he knows why the photo is so popular.

"It's done well I believe due to its relatability," he said in an email. "Everyone knows mice, but did they know them like this?! I hope I've shed a new light on a common species."

Rowley spent five nights laying on the ground of Tube stations, snapping shots of the tiniest inhabitants. He won't reveal the exact station at which the image was shot ("a photographer's secret"), but he did ponder the life of the mice that live there.

'These mice only know the constant roar of trains and perpetual darkness," Rowley told the museum. "Most won't have ever seen daylight or felt grass under their feet. The tunnels are a desperate place to live if they need to have a boxing match over a tiny little crumb."

Rowley is now selling prints of his prize-winning image. And he's planning to stay close to the animal kingdom.

"I'll pursue other urban wildlife photography projects in both Britain and across the world over the next year," he told me.

Highly commended images in the contest include a sad shot of a orangutan who's used in boxing shows in Thailand, one of two jaguars carrying an anaconda, one of a Kenyan ranger nuzzling a young rhino, and one of white arctic reindeer nearly hidden against a snowy Norwegian landscape.