Eurasian Harvest Mouse

Eurasian Harvest Mouse

Harvest mouse

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Superfamily
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Micromys minutus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
1-5 yrs
WEIGHT
4-11 g
LENGTH
55-75 mm

Eurasian harvest mice are the smallest rodents in Europe. The upper part of the body is brown, sometimes with a yellow or red tinge; the under-parts range from white to cream coloured. The eyes and ears are relatively large. These mice have small noses, with short, stubble-like whiskers, and thick, soft fur, somewhat thicker in winter than in summer. Eurasian harvest mice have a prehensile tail which is usually bicoloured and furless at the tip. Their broad feet are adapted specifically for climbing, with a somewhat opposable, large outermost toe. It allows the animal to grip stems with each hindfoot and its tail, thus freeing the mouse's forepaws for food collection. The tail is also used for balance.

Video

Distribution

Eurasian harvest mice are native to Europe and Asia. They range from northern Spain and Great Britain through Europe, eastern Fennoscandia, and Russia to northern Mongolia, China, the Korean peninsula, northeast India, Myanmar and Viet Nam. These mice also occur in Japan and Taiwan. Eurasian harvest mice are typically found in fields of cereal crops, such as wheat and oats, in reed beds and in other tall ground vegetation, such as long grass and hedgerows.

Eurasian Harvest Mouse habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Eurasian harvest mice are social and live in small, overlapping home territories. During the cooler months, animals build a sleeping nest from grass on the ground or in a shallow burrow if they can not find a better shelter. These mice do not hibernate. They can be active during the day and night. When escaping enemies, Eurasian harvest mice move slowly, and make a "camouflage posture" as a defense, and remain motionless against the stalk of the grass. If danger persists, they drop into the darkness of the ground level.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Eurasian harvest mice are omnivorous animals. They feed on grasses, different seeds, fruits, and grain. In the summer, they also consume insects and larvae.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
April-September
PREGNANCY DURATION
17-18 days
BABY CARRYING
3-8 pups
INDEPENDENT AGE
15-16 days
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
pup, pinkie, kit

Little is known about the mating system in Eurasian harvest mice. However, males and females are known to come together only to mate and construct a breeding nest, after that the female chases the male away. Young are born in nests that are built about 100-130 cm above the ground. Construction on these nests begins during the spring and summer breeding season. One nest is built for each litter of young. Reproduction usually starts around April and ends in September. The gestation period lasts around 17-18 days. Females usually give birth to 1-13 young, but usually around 3-8. Pups are born naked and blind. They open their eyes at 8-10 days. They are weaned and become independent at around 15-16 days of age. Young Eurasian harvest mice become reproductively mature in 35 days.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Eurasian harvest mice at present. However, in some areas of their range the animals might suffer from the loss and degradation of wetland habitats

Population number

According to IUCN, the Eurasian harvest mouse is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.

References

1. Eurasian Harvest Mouse on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_harvest_mouse
2. Eurasian Harvest Mouse on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/13373/115111404

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About