© Stuart M Bennett 2003
Micromys minutus
(The Harvest Mouse)

One of Britain's smallest animals is the harvest mouse of the Family Muridae at 2.5 inches long. It lives mainly in the south east of Britain in cornfields, surrounding hedgerows, dykes, reed beds, long grass and allotments near towns and villages. It moves gracefully from stalk to stalk aided by it's tail which can coil around anything (prehensile), giving extra support to the mouse and acting as a fifth limb.

Some biology:

Size: It measures in at 2.5 inches, the only mammal smaller in this country is the pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) which measures in at 2 inches.

Weight: This little fellow weighs in at 5 grams that equates to one fifth of an ounce...!

Breeding: Right through from April to September.

No /litter: This young lady produces between 5 - 9 young per litter.

Life expectancy: The harvest mouse has been known to live for five years in captivity but it's life expectancy in the wild is about 1.5 years

As we said above she breeds from April to September. The young are born in a nest built a few inches above the ground, in corn or grain (see picture below). In winter it tunnels into hay and corn ricks or burrows just below ground level. Little is known about it's diet though it would seem likely that the harvest mouse was a granivore. Lacking the mousy smell and requiring little attention, the harvest mouse makes a good pet


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