Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a small mammal workshop – and we were treated to an array of harvest mice, hedgehogs, mink, and voles.  It was lovely to shoot a hedgehog (which usually are in hibernation at this time of year).  The hog was ‘borrowed’ from a local rescue centre, and is due for release this spring.  It was good and round, and fat – a great stage for a hungry animal.

The Harvest Mice were tiny, cute as a button, and jet propelled fast – the hit rate was low, but when we got shots, they were fabulous.

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The Harvest Mouse

Despite the fact that these are known as the Harvest Mouse (or Micromys minutus), they are likely to be found in hedgerows and gardens all year round.

It is the smallest rodent in Britain, weighing in at just around 6g, and came to be called the Harvest Mouse, as it was most commonly seen around the time that fields were harvested.

The mice generally live around field edges, in hedgerows, and in the crops – but they do not cause any damage – they are so small, and eat so little – that the farmer should not notice.

The Harvest Mouse has a prehensile tail, which is about the same length as its own body. It can be used to hold onto things like the stems of corn or oats –

They don’t live long – about 18 months, but in that time they reproduce frequently.  The female is pregnant for only about 17 days, and gives birth to anything up to 8 young – and they can do this 7 or 8 times in a breeding cycle.  The babies leave the nest within a few days, and become independent.

They are the most beautiful mammals – and I hope to get back and photograph them again sometime soon.