Area of zoo
IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Micromys minutus
Order
Rodentia
Type
Mammals
Family
Muridae
Region
Europe and Northern Asia
Habitat
Tall grasses

Harvest mice facts

  • They are the smallest rodent native to the UK. 
  • They have a prehensile tail!  This means they can grip things with their tail.  They have five toes on each foot with the outer toe being larger which means they can also grip grass stems with their feet. 
  • They build nests for their young out of grasses which they weave together to form a round hollow nest which they place finely shredded leaves and grasses inside.  The females will close the nest entrance hole after giving birth and keep it shut for the first week.
  • The young are born altricial but can hold onto a grass stalk at just three days old. 
  • Harvest mice eat seeds, grass, fruits, grains and insects.    
Harvest mouse sitting on an ear of wheat
Harvest mouse balancing on a stalk of wheat

What do harvest mice look like?

They are a small mouse, only 55-75 mm in length and weighing just 6-8 grams!  Most of their fur is brown with a red or yellow tinge whilst their underside has white fur.  They have a long tail which is furless at the end.  They have large eyes and ears and wide feet. 

Where are harvest mice from?

Harvest mice are widespread throughout Europe and Northern Asia. 

Where can I see harvest mice at London Zoo?

In 2024 we welcomed two females and one male harvest mice at London Zoo. Since they are mostly nocturnal animals you can find them in the Night Life habitat area of the zoo.

Visit our harvest mice at London Zoo

Harvest mouse perched on an ear of wheat

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What threats do harvest mice face? 

Harvest mice are currently listed as Least concern on the Endangered list, however, modern agriculture such as using machinery (combine harvesting), spraying, harvests being collected earlier and stubble burning are a threat to them as these practices result in habitat loss and fragmentation for the Harvest mice.  In some areas in the UK the species is considered Vulnerable.  

What can we do to help Harvest mice?

If you live near farmland, Harvest mice may visit your garden searching for food and a place to make a nest. Leaving some areas of tall undisturbed grasses in you garden can help to provide a habitat for them.

Species in the Night Life area of the Zoo

  • Potto at London Zoo
    Perodicticus potto

    Potto

    To mark their territory pottos leave urine trails on trees and deter predators using toxic secretions. They also have their own very distinct odour which you will be able to smell when you visit them. 

  • Pygmy slow loris baby
    Nycticebus pygmaeus

    Pygmy slow loris

    Slow lorises are the only venomous primate, producing a toxin in their glands, which becomes activated when mixed with their saliva.

  • Naked mole rat face with teeth showing
    Heterocephalus glaber

    Naked mole-rat

    Naked mole rats very rarely get cancer, and are capable of surviving low oxygen levels and are resistant to some forms of pain.

  • Red slender loris
    Loris tardigradus

    Slender loris

    Slender lorises silently sneak up on their prey and grab with their hands.

  • Two Malagasy giant jumping rats
    Hypogeomys antimena

    Malagasy giant jumping rat

    The largest rodent in Madagascar, the giant jumping rat lives in burrows of complex tunnels.

  • Bushbaby close-up, southern lesser galago
    Galago moholi

    Bushbaby

    Bushbabies get their name from their calls, which sound just like a newborn baby crying.