Thursday, 7 April 2011

1st Harvest Mouse Release of 2011

Today we released our first batch of harvest mice out onto our nature reserve for this year. We breed many of these little mammals every year, and despite the very cold Winter we had our breeding pairs only slowed up a little. With the nice warm weather recently, it seemed an ideal time to add to our reed beds around the reserve.

These amazing mice weigh less than a two pence piece, have opposable thumbs and are the only mammal in Europe to have a prehensile tail. All this enables them to climb high up in the reed beds and make themselves at home.

Some of you very lucky visitors have commented in the past on seeing our mice out around the wetland boardwalk, and we hope these new additions will help booster their numbers and make them a more common site for visitors. Of course we still have our two display tanks and our breeding pens in action.

Meanwhile, earlier this afternoon, Senior Keeper Laura spotted a common lizard wandering a little too far from home. We are hoping to create some new reptile enclosures around the boardwalk later this year, but in the meantime while releasing the harvest mice we relocated this lizard back to where he probably came from.

Our nature reserve is a relocation site for British reptiles. So far we have welcomed grass snakes, common lizards and many slow-worms. You would have to be extremely patient, but a glimpse of these elusive reptiles is certainly a possibility, especially now the weather is warming up!

Don't forget we are open during the week for the next two weeks, and all the bank holidays over the Easter period. Hope to see you here.

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