by Alex White
Last weekend I was supposed to be going out to help survey Harvest mice nests, but with the large amount of rain during the previous few days the survey was postponed until the following day, which I couldn’t make.
I was a little disappointed as I’d never seen a harvest mouse and I think I’ve only ever seen a nest, once on our allotment, so I was keen to learn more about these tiny mammals.
Luckily I was invited to a small mammal trapping session where there would be a good possibility of finding harvest mice.
During the survey we collected 60 traps. A total of 15 small mammals, including field and bank voles, a wood mouse and I’m please to say, a harvest mouse.
A few fun facts about Harvest Mice – Micromys minutus
Smallest rodent in Europe
Weigh 4g to 6g
Life span of approximately 18 months
Only British mammal to have a prehensile tail
They eat seeds, fruits and occasionally insects
Called the harvest mouse because they used to nest in crops and were often seen at harvest time
Their nests are made out of woven grass around 10cm in diameter for breeding, but smaller for individual use
They can have up to seven litters a year, containing 8 young
Tennis balls have been used for substitute nests for surveying and reintroduction (Google this for some super cute photos)
During winter they use holes underground for safety and warmth
© Alex White 2019