Wednesday, 24 November 2010



A few weeks ago we moved our Harvest Mice Micromys Minutus into beautiful new display tanks – a safer, better option than the wooden, glass-fronted cabinets  that housed them  previously – unfortunately these proved to be not entirely escape proof…….  We now have four glass tanks – two new ones for the two adult groups- males in one, females in the other.  Then there are two smaller tanks underneath – one we’ve made home for a breeding pair and one that is ready for the juveniles to spend a few weeks once they’re weaned from their Mum but not yet ready to join the adult groups.    

The two Harvest Mice that I selected as our new breeding pair hadn’t produced a litter before, and I was beginning to wonder if perhaps the chemistry wasn’t quite right between them!  However, I decided to leave them together in case they were slow starters and hoped they’d snuggle their way through a winter courtship ready to produce babies in the Spring.


Baby Harvest Mouse on stalk (resized & cropped)

Baby Harvest Mouse 24 Nov 2010












Imagine our surprise when peeking into the breeding tank yesterday morning – to see two tiny new faces peeking out of the nest!  We don’t heat the Discovery Zone (where we house our Harvest Mice) during winter, so although the mice are completely draft-free they’re more likely to produce litters in the Spring and Summer.  So these two babies are a real gift!  Hidden from view in their nest of hay, the baby mice are born pink after a gestation of between 18 to 21 days. Once the youngsters are approximately 8 weeks old they’ll be weaned and ready to move to the nursery tank. 

Until recently, I had been lead to believe that Harvest Mice are Britain’s smallest mammal – however, it was recently pointed out that, although a close call between the Harvest Mouse, Pygmy Shrew and Pipistrelle Bat – the Pygmy Shrew is fractionally the smallest!

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