Welcome to our project website. On here you will find information about the project, what we’re trying to do, the latest maps and information about how to find your own harvest mouse nests, as well as keeping up to date with the latest news and developments.
The Devon Harvest Mouse project started in 2016 and has been run for six months a year since then. It was started as Devon Mammal Group was aware how few records there were for harvest mice in Devon: the aim is to find out how the species is doing and where they can be found. We look for nests rather than the mice themselves as harvest mice are very shy-and run very fast! Nests don’t move, and by searching for their nests we know that harvest mice are either present or absent. We’re not able to work out population numbers using this method, but we now have records from most of the hectads in Devon.
Nationally there is very little data, and the IUCN-approved Red List of British Mammals now classifies the harvest mouse as Near Threatened in Great Britain and Critically Endangered in Scotland. If we know where harvest mice are in Devon, we can help to protect them and manage areas sympathetically: habitat that is good for harvest mice is good for lots of other species too.
The survey period is between October and March each year as that is the best time of year to look for nests, as well as avoiding disturbing breeding females. Our aim is to find out where harvest mice are in Devon, and we do this through running surveys, training people about harvest mice and how to find nests, and running a trail-cam project. We also go out and about when possible to events such as bioblitzes so that people can learn more about this fascinating species-and meet our captive mice for themselves. We’re hoping to start an owl-pellet dissection strand to the project to see if we can get more harvest mouse records that way.
Devon Mammal Group have recently been awarded funding by the Devon Environment Foundation to keep the project going another year. This has made a massive difference and means that we can find more harvest mice across the county.