The endangered pygmy mouse
The European pygmy mouse (harvest mouse) is small. Very small. Almost as small as a large beetle. The harvest mouse lives on roadsides with tall grass, in wild gardens and in wheat fields. It is most active at night in the summer and feeds on seeds, but it also hunts moths and grasshoppers. The pygmy mouse does not yet belong in the list of endangered species, although the number is steadily decreasing. But that could change over time. Due to modern farming methods, pesticides and zoning plans, its habitat is getting smaller.
- Preppy tail
- Habitat of the dwarf mouse: meadows, roadsides and wild gardens
- Seeds, fruits and insect pests
- The nest of the European pygmy mouse (harvest mouse)
- Important characteristics of the European dwarf mouse (harvest mouse)
- Endangered species
The European dwarf mouse (Micromys minutus) is the smallest rodent in Europe, next to the birch mouse. It grows to about 7 cm long. Just as long as its tail. And it weighs between 6 and 12 grams. Height and weight are partly determined by the quality of his biotope (approx. 400 m²). The coat of the gray mouse has two colors: the top is usually yellow-brown to orange-brown, and the belly is pale white. The more humid the habitat, the darker in color these mice become. Its snout is blunt and its hairy ears are reminiscent of a vole.
The most striking thing about the pygmy mouse is its prehensile tail. With that he finds a grip on the culms, can he slow down ?? and keep his balance. It uses all four legs to clamber and forage for food. Thus he climbs up the grain stalks to the ears.
Habitat of the dwarf mouse: meadows, roadsides and wild gardens
The pygmy mouse is most active at night in the summer. And during the daytime in winter. He prefers to stay in areas with a lot of reeds and others high vegetation. It is therefore mainly found in hay land, roadsides, overgrown gardens and in mature hedges.
From Europe to Asia
The gray mouse is found everywhere to a greater or lesser extent Europe, Russia (Siberia) and the northern part of Asia, but also in the more southern Tibet and parts of southern China.
Seeds, fruits and insect pests
The pygmy mouse is omnivorous. It consumes seeds, fruits, but also insects such as moths and grasshoppers, depending on what can be found in its biotope during the different seasons. However, seeds and grains are the main part of his menu. Undoubtedly, the pygmy mouse does some damage in the wheat fields. However, it also hunts for harmful insects, including the honeydew.
April and May are the beginning of the mating season. After a gestation period of roughly 20 days, the female of the gray mouse will take until September every year six throws from 4 to 8 young for her account. The offspring are suckled and cleaned. After a day or two, the initially blind young can crawl around in the nest.
Eight to nine days later, the young have teeth, fur and are eating solid food. This is also necessary because the milk production of the mouse female then greatly decreases and eventually stops. The female then drags seeds and other treats. After 12 to 16 days, the young are ready to leave the nest. A pygmy mouse lives about 6 months to a year and a half. If ??pet?? it can live up to 4 to 5 years.
The nest of the European pygmy mouse (harvest mouse)
The pygmy mouse is the only European mouse species that makes the nest above ground. About 30-120 cm above the ground between the culms and plant stems. The female braids the nest with narrow grass strips, which is attached to a sturdy culm. The braid holes are then filled with plant material. It spherical shelter for the pregnant gray mouse, which does not want a male around during this period and after the birth, is approximately 10 centimeters in diameter. She closes the entrance with grass.
Important characteristics of the European dwarf mouse (harvest mouse)
The European pygmy mouse belongs to the order of the Rodentia (rodents), the family of the Muridae (mouse-like) and sex Micromys.
- Length (head and body): approx. 7 cm; prehensile tail: approx. 7 cm.
- Weight: 5-10 grams.
- Almost all of Europe to Northeast Siberia
- In Asia to Korea and Japan.
- Food: seeds, fruits and insects.
- Behavior: nocturnal in summer, more active during the day in winter.
- Mating season: April to September.
- Gestation period: 20 days; approx. 5 young per litter; up to 6 litters per year.
- The pygmy mouse belongs to the house mouse and wood mouse family.
- Also probably related to Southeast Asian genera, including the Haeromys.
Pygmy mice live in the tall grass and grain fields. They also like to stay among the reeds on the dry banks of streams and rivers. However, there are enough signs that the gray mouse will develop a endangered animal species. The stock decreases by one eighth every year. Modern agricultural methods are particularly responsible for this. And do not forget the use of pesticides and the use of combines. Zoning plans for housing are also the cause of the dwarf mouse has disappeared in many places.