Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Harvest Mouse Release

It's that time again when we start thinking about releasing some of our harvest mice back into the wild. We have successfully bred these tiny mammals for many years, and last year looked at the possibility of introducing them onto our nature reserve and even tried a few trial releases.

They seemed to go very well, and so this year we are going for a big release to see if we can establish a small population in the reed banks around our wetland boardwalk. Below you can see the type of habitat they will inhabit, with nice thick bramble hedgerows nearby for them to use in the Winter. Within the reeds we have created a couple of soft-release pens. These act as halfway homes for the mice to live in, and acclimatise to the outside conditions, before the door is left open and they are free to explore the nature reserve a their own pace.

The first batch went out yesterday, making the most of the dry spell we have this week, and we plan to continue with several releases over the rest of the year.

Keep your eyes open next time you are wandering around our boardwalk, if you are patient and lucky enough you may well see some of our mice enjoying the reeds.


  1. Your timing was a bit off Matt with the weather we've had the last couple of days, hope you gave them umberella's.

  2. Hi Mike. The weather here has not been as bad as forecast, today was the only damp day but we did have heavy rain last night. Either way the release pens are designed to be sheltered from the rain so I know the mice are safe and well.

    If all continues to go well, they will be opened to the wild next week.

  3. Hi Matt
    I bought 6 harvest mice from an apparently reputatbin pet shop in March this year. I was told that they would accept mice back if I found that I was becoming overrun with them. I have returned one litter but it looks as though instead of there being one dominant pair there are more breeding.
    I'd appreciate your advice:
    Should I try to sex the mice and keep only one sex from now on
    Keep returning the offspring
    Consider releasing some
    What is best for the well being of the mice?
    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  4. Hi Christine, I would be happy to offer some advice. Please email me at the centre and I will reply to your email.