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Mouse  Harvest Mice  

Harvest Mouse - Photo  Copyright 2006 Andy Darringon
Photo: Andy Darrington

UK Safari Tip:
Get help identifying mice, voles, shrews and other land mammals with a fully illustrated fold-out chart - click here

Latin name: Micromys minutus

Size: Between 50 and 80mm from nose to base of tail. Tail is about the same length again. Weight around 5 - 6 grams.

Distribution: Found England and Wales. Most frequently found in the south and south-east. More introductions are taking place.

Months seen: Mainly in March to October. Although they don't hibernate they do spend most of the time underground (often in the tunnels of other small mammals). 

Life span: Approximately 18 months

Habitat: Bramble bushes, meadows, and some crop fields.

Food: Seeds, berries and small insects.

Special features: Harvest mice have red-brown fur with white underparts. Young harvest mice are more grey-brown coloured.

Harvest mice are active day and night, although in the summer they are more active at night, and in the winter they're more active during the day. Although they don't hibernate during the winter, they spend a lot of time underground where they often store food.

In the summer the females make a spherical breeding nest from grass amongst tall vegetation. The nest is about the size of a tennis ball. Breeding can take place anytime between May and October. They have two or three litters each year, although most litters occur in August. The young are suckled until they are about 9 days old. After that they are given solid food - frequently chewed seeds. When the young reach around 18 days of age the mother drives them away from the nest. By the time they are six weeks old they are able to breed themselves.

The Harvest mouse is only slightly larger than our smallest mammal the Pygmy shrew

Click for a better viewThe hairless tail is prehensile allowing the harvest mouse to use it like an extra foot to grip vegetation as it feeds and moves through vegetation.

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UK Safari Mammal Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved