Harvest Mice

I was given a Christmas present of a photoshoot, photographing Harvest Mice. After a cancellation through bad weather I finally got to fulfil the present.

These little creatures, and I do mean little, (they were less than the size of my thumb), were so fast it was difficult to get a sharp image. Macro lenses, breezy days and Harvest Mice are opposing bedfellows.

I was given a Christmas present of a photoshoot, photographing Harvest Mice. After a cancellation through bad weather I finally got to fulfil the present.

These little creatures, and I do mean little, (they were less than the size of my thumb), were so fast it was difficult to get a sharp image. Macro lenses, breezy days and Harvest Mice are opposing bedfellows.

I was given a Christmas present of a photoshoot, photographing Harvest Mice. After a cancellation through bad weather I finally got to fulfil the present.

These little creatures, and I do mean little, (they were less than the size of my thumb), were so fast it was difficult to get a sharp image. Macro lenses, breezy days and Harvest Mice are opposing bedfellows.

Harvest Mice

The Harvest Mouse was first described accurately in 1767 by Gilbert White, a naturalist who lived in Selborne, Hampshire.

He discovered harvest mice living in the cornfields around his village, hence he named it ‘Harvest Mouse’.

The Harvest Mouse was first described accurately in 1767 by Gilbert White, a naturalist who lived in Selborne, Hampshire.

He discovered harvest mice living in the cornfields around his village, hence he named it ‘Harvest Mouse’.

The harvest mouse is tiny - an adult can weigh as little as a 2p piece! It prefers habitats with long grass, but you're most likely to spot its round, woven-grass nests.

Commonly, they grow to 5-7 cms in length and weigh about 4-6g. Compared with their small body, they have long tails, which can be approximately 6 centimetres long.

The harvest mouse is tiny - an adult can weigh as little as a 2p piece! It prefers habitats with long grass, but you're most likely to spot its round, woven-grass nests.

Commonly, they grow to 5-7 cms in length and weigh about 4-6g. Compared with their small body, they have long tails, which can be approximately 6 centimetres long.

The most special thing about harvest mice is their tails. They are Britain’s smallest rodent and the only British mammal with prehensile tails!

The tail can act as a fifth limb, just like monkeys, which helps them to hold onto grass stems. They will wrap their tails around the plants, so that they can quickly climb up the tall stems to find the seeds at the top.

Vegetables, seeds and fruits are all food that harvest mice love, but they will also eat some invertebrates.

The most special thing about harvest mice is their tails. They are Britain’s smallest rodent and the only British mammal with prehensile tails!

The tail can act as a fifth limb, just like monkeys, which helps them to hold onto grass stems. They will wrap their tails around the plants, so that they can quickly climb up the tall stems to find the seeds at the top.

Vegetables, seeds and fruits are all food that harvest mice love, but they will also eat some invertebrates.

The average lifespan of a harvest mouse is one and a half years. Harvest mice have a blunt nose, small eyes and small hairy ears.

Their fur is usually pale, ginger and yellow, and their bellies are white. There is almost no hair on their tails.

In the wild, harvest mice often have two or three litters each year, usually between late May and October, but sometimes as late as December if the weather is moderate.

The average lifespan of a harvest mouse is one and a half years. Harvest mice have a blunt nose, small eyes and small hairy ears.

Their fur is usually pale, ginger and yellow, and their bellies are white. There is almost no hair on their tails.

In the wild, harvest mice often have two or three litters each year, usually between late May and October, but sometimes as late as December if the weather is moderate.

The majority of litters are born in August. A litter typically contains six to eight pups. The young are born blind and hairless, but they develop fast and begin to explore outside the nest by the eleventh day.

Cold, rainy weather is a leading cause of death. Their nests are perfectly round, about the size of a cricket ball. Every time new babies are born, harvest mice will build a new nest for the next litter.

The majority of litters are born in August. A litter typically contains six to eight pups. The young are born blind and hairless, but they develop fast and begin to explore outside the nest by the eleventh day.

Cold, rainy weather is a leading cause of death. Their nests are perfectly round, about the size of a cricket ball. Every time new babies are born, harvest mice will build a new nest for the next litter.

Harvest mice live in reedbeds, hedgerows, farmland, long tussocky grassland and woodland edges.

It is quite difficult to see a wild harvest mouse because of its small body.

In addition, the modern agricultural farming methods have also affected their lifestyles and numbers, which makes it even harder to find them in life.

Harvest mice live in reedbeds, hedgerows, farmland, long tussocky grassland and woodland edges.

It is quite difficult to see a wild harvest mouse because of its small body.

In addition, the modern agricultural farming methods have also affected their lifestyles and numbers, which makes it even harder to find them in life.

Harvest mice are mainly distributed in Europe and Asia, Japan and Korea.

In Britain, they are most common in the South and Southeast, but have been sighted in Cheshire, Wales, Yorkshire and even Edinburgh. However, they are absent from Ireland.

Harvest mice have many natural predators, including foxes, weasels, stoats, cats, owls, crows and kestrels – even toads will eat them.

Harvest mice are mainly distributed in Europe and Asia, Japan and Korea.

In Britain, they are most common in the South and Southeast, but have been sighted in Cheshire, Wales, Yorkshire and even Edinburgh. However, they are absent from Ireland.

Harvest mice have many natural predators, including foxes, weasels, stoats, cats, owls, crows and kestrels – even toads will eat them.

Unfortunately, their number has experienced a significant decrease, with evidence suggesting a decline of 70% since the 1970s.

Therefore, harvest mice have been included in the BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan).

People have also made huge efforts to help stop the decline in harvest mouse numbers, such as Wendy Fail, whose ambition was to reintroduce harvest mice to Northumberland.

Unfortunately, their number has experienced a significant decrease, with evidence suggesting a decline of 70% since the 1970s.

Therefore, harvest mice have been included in the BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan).

People have also made huge efforts to help stop the decline in harvest mouse numbers, such as Wendy Fail, whose ambition was to reintroduce harvest mice to Northumberland.

In 2004, she released 240 mice to a coastal nature reserve, where there had a large number of reed beds to protect the mice.

But the protection process was very difficult. In the initial investigation, because no recaptured mice were found, Fail believed that her plan had failed.

But after 15 years, people have rediscovered harvest mice in the reserve again.

In 2004, she released 240 mice to a coastal nature reserve, where there had a large number of reed beds to protect the mice.

But the protection process was very difficult. In the initial investigation, because no recaptured mice were found, Fail believed that her plan had failed.

But after 15 years, people have rediscovered harvest mice in the reserve again.

In Selborne, landowners, environmentalists, and museum staff also actively protected harvest mice, creating a large number of habitats for them.

Because of all these efforts, it's believed people will be able to see more and more of these cute mice in the coming years, and the future for a tiny harvest mouse is full of hope.

In Selborne, landowners, environmentalists, and museum staff also actively protected harvest mice, creating a large number of habitats for them.

Because of all these efforts, it's believed people will be able to see more and more of these cute mice in the coming years, and the future for a tiny harvest mouse is full of hope.

These photographs were taken on a photoshoot at Nature's Photos. (www.naturesphotos.co.uk).

The source information on the history of the harvest mice courtesy of The John Moore Museum.

These photographs were taken on a photoshoot at Nature's Photos. (www.naturesphotos.co.uk).

The source information on the history of the harvest mice courtesy of The John Moore Museum.

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