Old  World  Harvest  Mouse
   
Micromys  minutus
   
RED  RANNY   
EUROPEAN  HARVEST  MOUSE  
RED  MOUSE
   
    SCIENTIFIC  CLASSIFICATION
    KINGDOM :              Animal
    SUB KINGDOM :     Metazoa
    PHYLUM :                Chordata                       
    SUB PHYLUM :       Vertebrata                     
    CLASS :                   Mammalia
    ORDER :                  Eutheria
    FAMILY :                  Muridae
    SUB FAMILY :         Murinae                           
    GENUS :                  Micromys
    SPECIES :               minutus
    ******************************************************************************************************************
    to learn about SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION ..
    go to ..
    LINNAEUS SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION page
 
" Blessed are those who have regard for the weak "
Psalm 41:1

    HELPFUL  INFORMATION

    THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT SPECIES OF HARVEST MOUSE IN THE WORLD
    THEY ARE FOUND IN
    EUROPE .. from the MEDITERRANEAN to the ARCTIC CIRCLE
    ASIA
    JAPAN
    NORTH AMERICA

    a mouse is an animal who is a member of the rodent family of mammals

    the european harvest mouse is a rodent
    more than 40% of the world's known mammals are rodents
    there are 2,000 known species of rodent in the world





    THERE ARE MANY TYPES AND SPECIES OF MICE IN THE WORLD
    sometimes it can be quite difficult to distinguish one type of mouse from another

    all species of mice are very very adaptable
    mice live in ALL sorts of places
    mice eat all sorts of food


    CAPYBARA
    world's largest rodent  
    176 pounds

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE
    one of world's smallest rodents

    there are many species of harvest mice in the world
    there is only 1 species in all of Europe
    the old world harvest mouse is the only species in it genus

    there are 70 species and subspecies in North America and  South America

    North American relatives of the OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE
    Western Harvest Mouse     (Reithrodontomys megalotis)
    Eastern Harvest Mouse      (Reithrodontomys humulis)
    Fulvous Harvest Mouse      (Reithrodontomys fulvescens)
    Saltmarsh Harvest Mouse  (Reithrodontomys ravirentris)

    the many American harvest mice species are similar to the OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE
    they also build their nests close to the ground in grasses or low shrubs

    super super ENDANGERED  and very unusual Harvest Mouse
    SALTMARSH HARVEST MOUSE
    lives in salty marshland of San Francisco Bay
    can drink salt water  ! ! !
 

    BIOLOGY
    physical characteristics

    the old world harvest mouse is one of the smallest of all rodents in the world
    the old world harvest mouse has very specialized physical traits
    old world harvest mice need special traits to help with the unusual way they live
    the old world harvest mouse is one of the most agile animals in the world

    SIZE
    body length  1/2 - 2 inches
    tail length      1 1/2 - 2 inches

    not much bigger than a pull-tab from a can of soda      wow !!

    WEIGHT
    adult old world harvest mouse
    about 1/4 - 1/3 ounce

    FUR
    thick hair covering body

    COLOR
    light
    gray brown tan RED
    golden to lighter tan on sides
    agouti  ( agouti is a term for multi-colored hair - each hair .. lighter .. darker .. lighter color pattern )
    THIS COLOR PATTERN HELPS TO CAMOUFLAGE AND PROTECT

    white pinkish white underside
    lighter underneath can help to reduce heat .. heat away from the body so mouse will not get too hot


    HEAD
    EARS
    round
    rather large
    prominent
    hairy
    ears are flattened to head - this helps to pick up all sounds

    old world harvest mice have fantastic excellent hearing  !
    their hearing is much more acute than humans
    they can hear up to 40,000 hertz
    sounds that are inaudible to humans

    super great hearing is really important for the safety of the Old World Harvest Mouse

    EYES
    sparkling black color

    living above ground in open countryside means
    that it is super important for the OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE to have super excellent vision
    the old world harvest mouse has very large eyes that help to see at night

    the old world harvest mouse has very very long thick eyelashes
    they help to
    cut glare
    keep particles out of eyes

    NOSE
    blunt snout
    nose is ..
    quite large
    pinkish

    the sense of smell is really really important
    having a powerful sense of smell is super important for safety !

    WHISKERS
    long long stiff whiskers (vibrassae)
    these whiskers provide all sorts of sensory information

    width of a passageway
    how deep is a hole
    information in the dark


    MOUTH
    the harvest mouse mouth is similar to all other rodents
    really sensitive upper lip
    has classic gap in mouth - called diastema
    diastema is located between incisors in front and molars (cheek teeth)


    TEETH
    have 22 teeth
    4 incisors
    18 or less molars
    incisors continue to grow throughout life


    TAIL
    very unusual tail
    tail is specially adapted for lifestyle
    very long
    very hairy
    prehensile for gripping
    ONLY MOUSE IN WORLD WITH PREHENSILE TAIL  !!!
    used to
    grasp stalks
    for supports when building nests
    as a balance mechanism when climbing
    hold one grass stalk with tail .. swing to another stalk .. using tail like a trapeze  !


    FEET
    special adaptations to feet to help with climbing
    hind feet have opposable fifth toe
    outer toe is like thumb

    front paws are broad - helps to hold things securely - like human hands
    front paw toes are like human fingers - long and flexible - help with weaving  
 

    LIFESPAN

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE LIVES 6 - 18 MONTHS  !

    some biologists believe they live up to 3 years  !!!    WOW !!!
 

    WHERE  IN  THE  WORLD

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE LIVES THROUGHOUT
    MOST OF EUROPE
    ( EXCLUDING SCANDINAVIA )
    EASTERN RUSSIA
    KOREA
    SOUTHERN CHINA
    NORTHERN KOREA
    BRITAIN
    JAPAN
 

    HABITAT

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE IS
    ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING BUILDERS IN THE WORLD  !!!!

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE MAKES A VERY UNUSUAL TYPE OF NEST
    makes a nest with grassy materials woven into a tight ball
    the nest ball has pockets of air within the walls that hold warm air
    the weaving is so fantastic that the nest is waterproof

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE MAKES NESTS IN
    HEDGEROWS
    FIELD EDGES
    MEADOW EDGES
    MEADOWS

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE MAKES SEVERAL DIFFERENT KINDS OF NESTS
    all are
    made of grass
    woven
    round

    WINTER
    NON-BREEDING INDIVIDUAL   
    NURSERY

    WINTER NEST
    do not hibernate but need to be protected from cold
    in autumn eat lots and develop fat layer
    can stay in tight ball in nest for long periods of time

    in winter fields are often bare of vegetation
    old world harvest mice move to safer and warmer environments
    hedges
    bird's nests
    grassy banks
    underground  - under rocks - in abandoned burrows

    if live near humans ..
    barns
    outbuildings

    will fill winter nest with stores of food .. all sorts of food to eat during really cold of winter


    NON-BREEDING INDIVIDUAL
    the non-breeding  .. non-nursery nest of the old world harvest mouse is smaller than the nursery nest
    1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter
    loosely built
    closer to ground than the nest for babies
    shelter for just 1 mouse

    NURSERY
    largest of the nests
    made by the mom to be .. a few days before babies are born
    the breeding / nursery nest is about 4 inches in diameter
    about 3 feet above the ground
    carefully constructed with soft lining of finely chewed grass

    bites grass stalks
    weakens them so they bend easily
    then use front teeth and forefeet
    shreds grass leaves into thin strips
    grass stalks are still living .. still attached at base of stems so they don't wither and die
    form frame of nest
    then mom goes inside .. pulls in more leaves through walls ..
    shred once inside ..
    then weave into lining .. repeat .. repeat ..
    woven basket stuffed with
    finely chewed grass
    thistledown
    downy bird feathers
    .. all to create a soft bed for babies

    the nest is attached to surrounding plant stalks
    secured within several of these plant stalks
    these are all living grass plants ..
    so the whole green ball nest and supports are not visible to eye
    after babies leave .. nest turns brownish yellow

    THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF NEST CONSTRUCTION TAKES FROM 5 - 10 HOURS !!!  wow !


    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE IS AMAZINGLY ..
    AGILE
    GRACEFUL
    DEXTEROUS
    FABULOUS AT CLIMBING

    THE FEMALE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE
    IS A SUPER SUPER GREAT ARCHITECT    !!!!

    THE FEMALE HARVEST MOUSE IS A SUPER GREAT BUILDER

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE CAN ONLY LIVE IN A VERY SPECIFIC TYPE OF HABITAT
    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE NEEDS TO LIVE AMONGST TALL VEGETATION ..
    FARMLANDS (MANY ARE FORMER GRASSLANDS)
    SCRUB LANDS
    THICKETS
    FIELDS
    CORNFIELDS
    RICE FIELDS
    CEREAL GRAIN FIELDS
    MEADOWS WITH LONG GRASSES
    SEDGES
    REEDS ALONG LAKES AND MARSHES


    the territory of male old world harvest mouse is about 500 square yards
    territory of female old world harvest mouse is much smaller .. about 200 square yards

    their entire world is really a very very very tiny geographic area !!!!
    but to them it is really a big area because they are so teeny tiny !!!!!


    IN SUMMER old world harvest mice stay inside their nests until the sun is going down
    then they return to their home before sunrise

    IN WINTER old world harvest mice stay inside their nests until the sun has come up
    then return to home before the sun goes down
   
 

    SOCIAL  ORGANIZATION

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE IS A SOLITARY ANIMAL

    THE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE IS NOT TOO SOCIAL

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE ARE NATURALLY REALLY REALLY AGGRESSIVE TOWARDS EACH OTHER

    MALES ARE AGGRESSIVE TO MALES

    FEMALES ARE AGGRESSIVE TO FEMALES

    FEMALES ARE AGGRESSIVE TO MALES

    MALE AND FEMALE OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE ARE ONLY FRIENDLY WHEN IT IS THE TIME FOR MATING
 

    COMMUNICATION

    MICE ARE NOT ACTUALLY AT ALL QUIET .. THE WAY THAT HUMANS BELIEVE THEM TO BE

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE MAKE ALL SORTS OF SOUNDS OF COMMUNICATION

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE ARE ACTUALLY QUITE NOISY !!!

    THE SOUNDS OF MOUSE COMMUNICATION ARE GENERALLY ABOVE THE RANGE OF HUMAN HEARING !

    COMMUNICATION SOUNDS .. HIGH FREQUENCY SQUEAKS


    male old world harvest mouse sings a love song to the female
    male communicates with the female using ultrasonic vocal sounds
    the vocalizations have a musical pattern
    as a human song does
    the songs are a pre-mating ritual
    ( just exactly like a human love serenade  !!!)
 

    SPECIES  PERPETUATION

    BOTH THE MALE AND FEMALE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE
    ARE REPRODUCTIVELY MATURE BETWEEN 5 - 6 WEEKS OF AGE

    wow !!!!

    THE MATING PERIOD OF TIME IS FROM
    APRIL - OCTOBER

    THE FEMALE OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE NORMALLY WILL MATE AT LEAST
    1 TIME IN THE YEAR

    most often she will mate 2 times in the year
    if conditions are just right she may mate 3 times in the year

    each successful mating will produce a group of OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE babies

    the group of old world harvest mouse babies is called a litter
    a female can produce between 1 - 6 litters of babies in her lifetime

    after the female has successfully mated .. she will begin her period of gestation
    gestation for a harvest mouse is between 17 - 19 days
    the harvest mouse mom can have between 3 - 8 babies per litter
    usually 3 - 5

    need a high reproductive rate because they have a high mortality rate

    the female OLD WORLD HARVEST MOUSE has a 4 day estrus cycle .. more than 1 time in the year


    COURTSHIP
    there is a courtship display between the male and female old world harvest mouse
    starts APRIL - MAY
    FIND POTENTIAL MATES WITH SCENT
    BOTH MALE AND FEMALE USE SCENT MARKING
    accomplished by urination
    urine scent has pheromones

    female gives off scent in her urine ..
    pheromones are chemical messengers
    scent marking is a way for harvest mice to communicate with each other
    males respond to scent  .. urinate ..
    female checks male urine to make a chemical analysis .. to determine that male is not related to her ..
    THE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT SO FEMALE CAN SECURE BIOLOGICALLY
    UNRELATED GENETIC MATERIAL TO MAKE REALLY HEALTHY BABIES  !

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE DO NOT MATE WITH RELATIVES   !!!
    mating with close relative or inbreeding would create negative results ..
    small litter numbers
    small physical size
    these results would harm the harvest mouse species
    would lead to reduction in total harvest mouse species population
    would contribute to the extinction of the entire species of harvest mouse  ! ! !
    IF HER BRAIN RECOGNIZES ANY CHEMICAL ELEMENTS IN HIS URINE .. SHE REJECTS HIM
    IF SHE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE ANY .. HE IS AN ACCEPTABLE MATE

    OLD WORLD HARVEST MICE ARE A BIT AGGRESSIVE TO EACH OTHER ...
    MALES AND FEMALES ARE FRIENDLY ONLY AT THE TIME OF MATING
    they may even fight !! she may attack him !!!
    male will sing to female ..
    actually sings a musical love song type of call to the female
    song is a shrill shrill shrill high pitched cry
    most of which is beyond range of human hearing

    FINALLY SHE WILL ACCEPT ONE OF THE POTENTIAL MATES
    AND THEY MATE

    after mating the female harvest mouse has a brief gestation period
    she then gives birth  

    old world harvest mice have a short gestation period and give birth to underdeveloped babies
    because
    if the baby embryos reached their full development inside the mom
    the increased nutritional requirements for the mom would be enormous
    it would be super hard for the mom to find enough food every day for her needs and
    for the growing embryos ..
    the weight of the mom would increase tremendously
    she would then be in great danger from predators ..
    because she would be so heavy that she would become very slow

    shortly after giving birth
    the mom forages for her own physical nutritional needs
    for extra food for her milk production
    without the weight of the big developing embryos she is able to move very FAST !
 


WE  NEED  NEVER  FEEL  LONELY  IN  THE  FIELDS  OR  WOODS
BIRDS  AND  ANIMALS  ..  AND  THE  BUTTERFLIES
SPEAK  TO  US
OFTEN  WE  ARE  NOT  REALLY  LOOKING  OR  LISTENING
IT  IS  THE  SAME  AT  NIGHT
THE  STARS  SPEAK  TO  US
WE  HAVE  TO  LEARN  TO  LOOK  AND  TO  LISTEN
WE  ARE  NEVER  ALONE

Paul Goble

EVERYTHING IN NATURE IS BEAUTIFUL

THE NATURAL WORLD IS PERFECT

EXUBERANCE  IS  BEAUTY
William  Blake
 
" The eyes of the LORD are on those
whose hope is in His unfailing love
"
Psalm 33:18
 

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