Rodent Report
-- The Harvest Mouse --
(Micromys minutus)
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Living in the wild 
Keeping as pets 

German: Europäische Zwergmaus 
French: Souris des moissons 
Dutch: Europese dwergmuis 

Looking: Small mouse with redish-brownish coloured back, hairy tail, big and long skull.
Length of mouse: 5.5 to 8 cm
Length of tail: 5 - 7.9 cm, as long as the body, sometimes a little bit longer
Weight: 5 - 10 g, pregnant females about 13 g.
Appearance of teeth: Between the 7th and 10th day
"Baby-fur" complete: On the 10th day
First leaving of the nest: With 11 to 12 days
First solid food: With about 12 days
First drinking: About the 14th day
Independence: With 15 days (by normal litter size!)
Fertility: 5 to 8 weeks
Teats: 8
Litters a year: 7
Litter size: 2 - 8
Gestation period:: 21 days
Lactation time: 18 days
Age: About 4 years
Living in the wild: activity-time: night and day; climbs very well, lives in high fields
Distribution: From North-Spain and The South of England to Middle and East Europe up to Japan. Does not exists in the North of Skandinavia
Additional: To keep them as pets you need a special permission in some countrys.
Living in the wild:

The harvest mouse is the smallest member of the Family Muroidae (mouse-like rodents) in Europe. This animals look in the fur a little bit like the yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). They have big eyes, round ears and a strong tail, which they use when they are climbing.
They build their nests in 30-80 cm heighs. These nests have one to two entries, they are very stable and wind or rain can not destroy them. The nest is a typical sommer nest for growing-up litters.
In the winter the harvest mouse lives in the underground or in old buildings. They eat grass-seeds, grain, plant parts, small insects and their lavas. They prefer oats and wheat.
In danger the animals stop to move. Their enemys are bigger rodents, hedgehogs, shrews and beasts of prey.
After the birth the animals have a weight one gramm and a lenght of 2 cm. Young mice love to play around. When the young mice are independend, the family leaves the nest. They love to sit in the sun.

Keeping as pets:

The best cage will be one, which is not too low! A good size is 0.5 x 0.5 x 1m (l x b x h -- Schwammberger). You should give them possibilities for climbing! The need hay for building their nests. They do not smell a lot, so they are fine pets. They can become very tame in short time.
Very important is that they have enough water. Give them the following food: grain and food for small birds, even protein is important: give them insects (meal worms) or dry food for cats. Some mice like vegetables, too.


Copyright 1997 by Sebastian Beneke, Germany.
Last update: 12-07-1997