The Harvest Mouse
Species: micromys minutus
The Harvest mouse is native to the woodlands and steppes of Europe and Asia, from northern Spain to Korea. In Russia it can be found from its western borders to Baikal and Primorye regions. It is typically found in fields of cereal crops, hence the name, and in long grass.
It is the smallest European rodent; an adult mouse weighs about 4-5 g. The body length varies from 55 to 75 mm, the tails is 49-56 mm long. The upper part of the body is brown, sometimes with a shade of yellow or red, the belly is white. In contrast with other mice species, the harvest mouse has a short snout and small eyes and ears. Its long tail enables the rodent to climb bushes and plants.
Harvest mice are most active in the mornings and in the evenings. They build ball-shaped nests on the ground and above the ground (they are attached to the stems of various plants). In winter harvest mice often live in hay stacks.
A house mouse quickly becomes a sociable and friendly pet. Specialists recommend keeping it in a metal cage or a glass tank: then the mouse won’t be able to disrupt its house with sharp teeth. Don’t forget that mice are very active and need to get out their energy. So its enclosure should be spacious and have a lot of toys in it. For bedding you can use wood cuttings.
Your mouse will need a house (a pot or a box will do), sturdy bowls for food and water. You will have to clean the cage daily and change the bedding at least twice a week.
It is quite easy to tame the mouse: you will need to handle it regularly and call its name. Soon your pet will recognize your voice and your smell.
In the wild the harvest mouse eats mainly seeds and insects, but also nectar and fruit.
In the captivity its diet mainly consists of grain, berries and insects.
Males tend to fight a lot. Mexican volcano mice are skittish. They hide in places that are hard to access. They are not easily trained animals.
Average life span is about 2 years. Mice rarely get ill though their immune system is quite ill.
Breast cancer often occurs in rats and mice, both in males and females. Many scientists believe that it appears due to genetic predisposition. Mice can have various types of ectoparasies: Myobia musculi, Myopcoptes musculinus and Radfordia affinis. Ear mites often occur too. Sometimes mice can get gastritis and enteritis due to improper diet.