Harvest mouse

Harvest mice range across Europe but in Britain they are found from Yorkshire southwards and parts of Wales.

They can produce up to 3 litters a year between May and October, with 1 – 7 young being born. The mother will abandon the young after 15 – 16 days, although the young may still use the nest for a few days further. In the wild they may live up to 18 months.

Harvest mouse climbs

Image via Wikipedia

ID

  • Typically found in cereal crops such as wheat and oats, also found in reed beds, long grass and hedgerows
  • 5 - 7cm in body length with a tail of another 5 – 7cm
  • Small nose and large eyes and ears
  • Stubble like whiskers
  • Thick, soft fur with a brown upper body, sometimes with a yellow or red tinge and white to cream underside

Latin name: Micromys minutus

Harvest Mouse Nest

Image via Wikipedia

 

In the garden

Modern farming methods have caused a reduction in hedgerows (where the live) and combine harvesters leave the harvest mouse with very little chance of escape.

They feed on cereal crops, seeds, berries and bulbs but will also eat small insects, moss, fungi and roots with some of this food being cached for the winter.

Harvest mice live in tall grasses and also have very distinctive nests, small balls of woven grass, resembling small birds nests.

 

Did you know

  • Tennis balls from Wimbledon have been recycled to create artificial nests for harvest mice conversation
  • The only old world mammal to have a truly prehensile tail!
  • The smallest rodent in Britain
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