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Harvest mice confirmed in the Tees

Last modified: 24 October 2013

Harvest mouse

These tiny little rodents are usually found in more southern areas of the UK.

Image: Chris Barber

Europe’s smallest rodent, the harvest mouse, has been found living and nesting at RSPB Saltholme, the wildlife reserve and discovery park.

Evidence of their presence in the area was discovered back in March when a member of the reserve’s Wildlife Explorers group found a skull during an owl pellet activity. However, their presence on the reserve was confirmed with the discovery of a harvest mouse nest by assistant warden Ed Pritchard.

Dave Braithwaite, site manager at RSPB Saltholme, said: “When the skull was discovered we knew that the mice were in the area, but now we can say definitively that they are here on the reserve.”

The nest was discovered during routine scrub clearance, which is part of the habitat management work on the nature reserve. Nests can vary from five to ten centimetres in diameter and are made of shredded leaves, woven to resemble a ball, with larger nests used for breeding and raising young.

Dave added: “These tiny little mice are usually found in more southern areas of the UK, in dense vegetation like hedgerows and cereal fields. Having them here, so far north and in the middle of this industrial landscape is a credit to the team here who look after the reserve for our wildlife: proof that if you build it, they will come.”

If you’d like to know more about how you can give nature a home in your garden, visit the RSPB website for a tailored guide, or go along to RSPB Saltholme, where on the 26 and 27 October the team will be showing visitors how to make a mouse house as part of their Halloween extravaganza.

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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