British Wildlife Centre Species Collection 

 Harvest Mouse - Micromys minutus

The Harvest mouse is the smallest rodent in Europe, weighing just six grams. In Britain it is common as far north as Yorkshire, though not on higher ground. It is also found right across Europe and central and eastern Asia.

It is the only British animal with a truly prehensile tail that can be used as a fifth limb. When wrapped around a stem it can act as a brake or anchor. This makes it very nimble travelling and feeding in stems of cereals and grasses.

They have a remarkable ability to sense vibrations through the soles of their feet. Larger animals in the vicinity can be sensed by vibrations passing through the ground and up the plant on which the mouse is feeding.



Origin: May be native, or perhaps introduced from continental Europe.

Size: Very small, length 5 - 7 cm, plus tail 6 cm.

Description: Golden brown and white parts clearly separated.
Tail prehensile, scaly, ringed and thinly haired.

Habitat: They move about as the seasons change. They prefer tall vegetation including reed beds, hedgerows, roadside verges, gardens as well as cereal sown fields.

Young: Several litters a year of 2 - 7 young. 99% of the adult mice do not survive the winter.

Nest: Non-breeding nests are constructed of loosely woven, shredded grass at the bottom of plant stems, under rocks or in abandoned birds nests. The summer breeding nests are the size of an orange, well-constructed compact balls of grass or corn blades interwoven among shrubs or stalks, often in standing corn and lined with thistle down.

Diet: Wheat, barley, oats, seeds, shoots, flies caterpillars and other insects.

Population: Pre-breeding season estimated to be 1,425,000.

British distribution