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Evidence of Europe's smallest rodent is big news for RSPB Saltholme
THE smallest rodent in Europe, the harvest mouse, has been found living and nesting at RSPB Saltholme on Teesside.
Evidence of their presence in the area was discovered in March when a member of the reserve’s Wildlife Explorers group found a skull during an owl pellet activity.
However, their presence on the reserve was only confirmed with the discovery of a harvest mouse nest by assistant warden Ed Pritchard.
Dave Braithwaite, site manager at RSPB Saltholme, said: “When the skull was discovered we knew that the mice were in the area, but now we can say definitively that they are here on the reserve.”
The nest was discovered during routine scrub clearance, which is part of the habitat management work on the nature reserve.
Nests can vary from five to ten centimetres in diameter and are made of shredded leaves, woven to resemble a ball, with larger nests used for breeding and raising young.
Mr Braithwaite added: “These tiny little mice are usually found in more southern areas of the UK, in dense vegetation like hedgerows and cereal fields.
"Having them here, so far north and in the middle of this industrial landscape is a credit to the team here who look after the reserve for our wildlife: proof that if you build it, they will come.”
- On October 26 and 27 RSPB Saltholme will be showing visitors how to make a mouse house as part of its Halloween extravaganza.
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