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Harvest Mice

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Quick Facts

Scientific name:  Micromys minutus

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

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

Months seen:  All year round, but more often from March to October.  Although they don't hibernate Hrvest Mice do spend most of the winter underground (often in the tunnels of other small mammals)

Life span:  Approximately 18 months

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

Food:  Seeds, berries and small insects

Special features:  Harvest Mice have red-brown fur with white underparts.  Juvenile 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.  They don't hibernate during the winter, but they do spend a lot of time underground where they often keep a store of food.

In the summer the females make a ball-shaped 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, and most litters occur in August.  The young are suckled until they are about 9 days old.  After that they're given solid food - frequently chewed seeds.  When the young are around 18 days of age the mother drives them away from the nest, and by the time they are six weeks old they are able to breed themselves.

Harvest Mice are only slightly larger than our smallest mammal the Pygmy shrew. They have a hairless prehensile tail which they can use like an extra foot, to grip vegetation as they feed and move through tall vegetation.


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