This is a harvest mouse, the UK’s smallest mouse, and Stanwick Lakes is its home!
Photo credit top left: Aidan Lesingham
Because of habitat losses and changes in farming practices this mouse is believed to be in decline – in fact, they are classified as Near Threatened on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals which means that they are at risk of becoming threatened with extinction in the near future. https://www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/red-list/
As it is not known how many harvest mice live in the wild the Mammal Society set up a national survey to find out.
The Mammal Society say that the survey aims to:
- develop a monitoring strategy for harvest mice
- establish a national community of surveyors and coordinators
- promote increased recording of this species
- use survey data to assess the current distribution, population and conservation status of this species
- promote harvest mice as an ecological / environmental indicator species.
This will then enable conservationists to monitor the population to find out if it is declining and what we can do to manage nature reserves and the wider countryside to protect them.
Here at Stanwick Lakes we survey for them searching for the breeding nests which the mice are no longer using so we disturb them as little as possible. It is very unusual to see a harvest mice while surveying so it was a real joy to spot this one climbing amongst the vegetation. The mouse didn’t seem too bothered by us, but we left it be to carry on with its day in peace!
We have a big team of over 30 volunteers who took part in this year’s survey, of all ages (our youngest was 9!) and we want to say a big thank you to all of them for giving up their time to join us. Thanks to the Stanwick Lakes Wildlife Volunteer Team, @Growwildoutreach and @naturetasticWH https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOs9JWLdaKxberu-oR2Uzsg
To find out more about the national harvest mouse survey visit: https://www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/harvest-mouse-project/#