Tuesday, 11 March 2014

1st Harvest Mouse Release

Last week we took the opportunity to use the nicer weather to release our first batch of harvest mice out on to our reserve.

We breed many harvest mice throughout the year, and have started to try and establish a new population down by our wetlands boardwalk. Over the last summer they did very well, and despite very few people actually seeing them, the signs were there... and on the occasion I was lucky enough to see one or two in the early hours of the morning when out with my dog.

The survival rate of natural born harvest mice is very low, and so I would expect the survival rate of our releases to be low too. They are at the bottom of the food chain after all. But if this project continues to go well, and we continue to see evidence of harvest mice being on our reserve, then it will be nice to think we have helped start a new population that in the future may be able to self support itself.

For our release we chose a specific area around the boardwalk, as recommended by the Surrey Wildlife Trust as being a good spot for the project. We provided the mice with nesting materials and will continue to monitor them and supplement their feeding through the spring to give them a real chance at survival.

Later in the season it is hoped that the SWT may do some work to monitor how well they are actually doing. We have done so well in creating the habitat, and have successfully introduced water voles out their which have now bred for the past two years... we hope to achieve the same with our smallest, and arguably cutest, of mammals!

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