“Team Mousie” Harvest Mice
“Team Mousie” are our Harvest Mice – cute little critters about the size of a thumb with a tail of around the same length as their little bodies. They are also super photogenic and their huge characters far exceed their diminutive size. The mice are selected as soon as they start being independent and eating solid food and come and live with me. During this time they see people coming and going every day, they see flashes every day and they get handled every day. Within a very short time they become used to everything that goes on around them and learn to simply ignore it and just go around doing mousie things unafraid and safe in the knowledge that none of it will hurt them.
Once they are ready the ones that go on to the next stage are selected and put into their teams. Each team has its own vivarium where they enjoy all kinds of new toys to explore as well as a varied diet. For them it is always summer and the Kestrel will never fly over them. During this time they become our photographic models, film stars and teachers until at around a year old they will go back into the breeding colony to live out their days and do what Harvest Mice do best … breed!
The mice that don’t get on the team are released, with permission, at a local nature area where they have a great natural habitat to live in following a “soft” release into the wild. They are a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
In captivity the mice will generally live to around 18 months to 2 years old although we did have a male (Mr Jingles!) who survived past his 3rd birthday. In the wild life is not so kind and in the UK most will not live past their first winter.
As Photographic Models these little creatures are amazing and it is such a privilege to work with them. For their size they have huge character and seem totally unaware of how small they are. The mice are not the least bit scared of me or intimidated by me. People often say that we force them to do things … but anyone who has worked with these little knows how stubborn and spirited they can be and if a mouse doesn’t want to do something it quite simply wont. I have a sneaky feeling that they see me as their pet! Certainly they regard themselves as my equal in life … and I kind of like that.
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