Fun Harvest Mouse Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Harvest mouse facts are great for families to study together
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

The harvest mouse (also known as the Old World harvest mouse) is the smallest rodent found in the continent of Europe, living in tall grass fields and crop fields.

They are the only mammals in Great Britain with a tail that offers prehensility, allowing them to grab hold of stalks and stems in the tall grasses they live in.

They can be found extensively all over Europe and Asia, being a very common sight in some urban localities and among grasses scattered across the two continents.

They are one of the more common members of wildlife in some parts of England and the rest of Europe, however, with the advent of agricultural technology and rapid urbanization, the distribution of these tiny mammals has been affected and their populations have sadly been decreasing throughout the decades.

These mice have are unlikely to enter and cause havoc in urban settlements and houses as they are known to keep to themselves in farmlands and forests. They generally feed on seeds and cereal heads and are not known for stealing food from households.

If you find facts about different mouse species interesting, you can also learn about the wood mouse and the white-footed mouse here on Kidadl.
 

Harvest Mouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a harvest mouse?

Harvest mice are Eurasian mice that are found in fields with tall grasses and in woodlands. The Eurasian harvest mouse, alongside species such as the house mouse and other rodents, belongs to the order Rodentia.

What class of animal does a harvest mouse belong to?

These harvest mice all belong to the class of Mammalia, fundamentally making them all mammals who give birth to live young.

How many harvest mice are there in the world?

The exact number of harvest mice in the wild is unknown, however, according to reports, there are around 1,425,000 harvest mice inhabiting Great Britain.

Where does a harvest mouse live?

This Eurasian mouse can be found in long grass fields, crop fields, plantations, farms, cornfields, reed beds, and among ground vegetation. They enjoy inhabiting areas where cereal crops such as oats and wheat are grown and they have been observed living along roadside verges and hedgerows, suprising the occasional onlooker!

They live in nests that are dug into the ground, into vegetation, or under haystacks.

They are also capable of constructing nests from grass and suspending them between stems which align vertically about 5.1 in (13 cm) above the ground. They even sleep in flowers sometimes, how cute!

What is a harvest mouse's habitat?

These Eurasian mice prefer grasslands, farmlands, hedgerows, or shrubs. Although these animals are terrestrial in nature, with the help of their tail, they are excellent at climbing or anchoring themselves and they are able to build breeding nests above plants and trees.

Harvest mice can be found almost everywhere in the UK except Ireland. They can be found in southern Scotland, and northern, southern, and eastern England. Other than in the UK, this species of mice can be found in Japan, Korea, southern China, Siberia, India, and Japan.

Who do harvest mice live with?

Harvest mice have been observed to live in their habitats with other mice around them. Females of this species have also been noticed to only mate with familiar males. However, the Eurasian harvest mouse is not known to be a family animal and they leave their young in their nests around two weeks after birth.

How long does a harvest mouse live?

It has been assumed that can they live up to five years, however, according to observations, harvest mice have been reported to live for just one and a half years in the wild, while in captivity they have been confirmed to have a lifespan of up to three and a half years.

How do they reproduce?

The Eurasian harvest mouse breeds between May and October, giving birth to multiple litters every year. They follow the general reproduction pattern of mammals and give birth to live young.

Each litter consists of around three to eight pups that are born after a gestation period of 17-19 days. After giving birth to the pups, the parents leave the pups and the nests after just 16 days to look for another nest to breed again.

What is their conservation status?

Harvest mice fall under the Least Concern category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They are very common in eastern as well as southern areas of England and across woodlands and forests across the Eurasian continental area.

Harvest Mouse Fun Facts

What do harvest mice look like?

Harvest mice are very small and have a semi-bald tail that is roughly the same length as their body. These mice have a furry reddish-brown coat with white or pale underparts. They can be immediately recognized by their blunt nose, tiny black eyes, and tiny furry ears.

Harvest mouse facts are really fun to read.

How cute are they?

Harvest mice are extremely cute. They have a super tiny and fluffy body with soft fur, which makes them even cuter.

They have tiny adorable faces with irresistible blunt tiny noses and pretty glazy black eyes. They have a tiny head with furry ears and a soft belly which is absolutely adorable. Their pups are even tinier when they are born and even cuter!

How do they communicate?

They communicate using their senses, primarily through chemical responses and tactile behavior.

How big is a harvest mouse?

The harvest mouse is about 2.2-3.1 in (5.5-8.0 cm) long with a tail almost as long as its body.

The Eurasian harvest mouse is known to be about three to four times smaller than local rats which are about 10-11 in (25.4-28 cm) in size. This length is without the tail and the additional length of their tails can cause them to measure up to 20 in (50.8 cm)!

The length of a harvest mouse along with its tail can reach up to a maximum of 6 in (15.2 cm).

How fast can a harvest mouse run?

Eurasian harvest mice can run up to 8 mph (12 kph) on the ground to evade predators in their habitats such as crows, owls, and weasels.

How much does a harvest mouse weigh?

A Eurasian harvest mouse weighs around 0.1-0.3 oz (4-11 g) and is generally lighter than a two pence coin.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species are simply referred to as male harvest mice and female harvest mice.

What would you call a baby harvest mouse?

A baby harvest mouse can be referred to as a harvest mouse pup.

What do they eat?

A major part of their diet consists of seeds and fruits. These animals are known for eating cereal crops, berries, seeds, stalks, and roots. Part of their diet also involves eating insects sometimes during the winter. They do not damage the crops in their habitats when taking a bite or during food collection when searching for seeds.

Are they dangerous?

These mice are not dangerous at all and barely visit urban settlements. There are no specific diseases that they are known for spreading to humans either.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they would make adorable pets. However, these mice might feel out of place in urban settlements or in cages away from their natural habitat and the wildlife that goes along with it.

They have been known to live in captivity just like the wood mouse. They are social animals and with proper care, they can turn into great pets. However, due to their natural habitats being grassy areas and hedgerows, they would probably enjoy being out in the open much more!

Did you know...

Harvest mice are the only mice in the UK who have been reported to weave and build complex nests with a hollow body using shredded grass.

Tennis balls from Wimbledon have been donated and used to create breeding nests for these mice to protect their populations.

There are currently no other members under the Micromys genus, although six extinct species have been discovered from fossilized remains. The closest relatives of these mice are wood mice.

Even though the harvest mouse is tiny like the dormouse, dormice are still larger in size than the harvest mouse. The harvest mouse is not a dormouse and possesses smaller ears and eyes, compared to the bigger eyes and medium-sized ears of dormice.

Are harvest mice endangered?

They are quite common in many localities and are not endangered per se, however, they have been decreasing in numbers throughout the years in the UK and across some Asian countries.

For instance, in Japan, the distribution of harvest mice is being threatened by various factors which are anthropogenic in nature.

Some of the root causes for the decrease in the number of harvest mice across Japan and in other countries are the excessive use of and insecticides and pesticides, urbanization, commercial farming, and the destruction of wetlands. Forests and grasslands across Eurasian countries are rapidly being destroyed, having a direct effect on this species and the wildlife around them.

A survey has determined that the nests of this species are on a steady decline as more than 85% of their habitat is becoming uninhabitable for them.

Since 2019, the government of the UK has called for the protection of this species under the United Kingdom Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.

Are harvest mice pollinators?

Rodents are very popular pollinators and harvest mice, like other species of rodents, are very active contributors to the ecosystem, wildlife, and nature around them. They actively participate in pollination by being pollen bearers and serving as transporters for pollen.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Amazon river dolphin facts and Island fox facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable harvest mouse coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

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Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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