October 18, 2015
VIDEO: Rescued harvest mice released by East Huntspill's Secret World

Several harvest mice have been successfully rescued and returned to the wild by carers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue near Burnham-On-Sea.

Animal Carer Samantha A’Court oversees Secret World’s breeding and release programme, which was recently featured on BBC’s Countryfile.

This week Samantha released eight young mice back into the wild at Secret World. Preparation is everything, to give the mice the best chance and to increase the size and diversity of the wild population.

"We paired up a male and female mouse from different bloodlines to mate," she told

"The babies were tiny and pink when newborn, but they’ve soon grown up and after just fifteen days they were weaned and ready to leave their mother. The youngsters then stayed in a nursery tank for a week or two to monitor them until we were happy that they were ready for release."

"To prepare them for the wild, they’ve had very little contact with humans. We created a natural environment for them in their tank using plants taken from their wild habitat. Grasses, reeds, teasels, corn stalks, moss, and seasonal plants like blackberry, rosehip and hawthorn went in, along with nuts and seeds, so they have got used to foraging."

"It was wonderful to release them at the edge of the woodland here at Secret World where there is ideal habitat – long grasses and dense vegetation. It was a ‘soft release’ which means we’ve given them a waterproof shelter which they can return to if they need to."

"We’ll keep topping up their food and water supply for a while to support them while they make the transition to the wild and build their own nests among the grasses and reeds. Our goal is to establish a local population of harvest mice. They are such fascinating animals and we are really looking forward to giving visitors an insight into their world this weekend."

The harvest mice at Secret World Wildlife Rescue are always a favourite for visitors of all ages, and for the first time next weekend visitors can go further into their world.

The wildlife rescue centre in East Huntspill near Burnham-On-Sea will be open on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th October from 10am to 4pm.

As well as bats and hedgehogs, visitors will be able to get up close to harvest mice and find out why the little mammals could use a helping hand.

The harvest mouse is the smallest British rodent and weighs just 6 grams when fully grown. Their numbers have declined in recent years, partly due to changing agricultural practices.

At the ‘Bats and Bobs’ open weekend there will be morning and afternoon talks on harvest mice on both days. As well as meeting the mice and learning more about Secret World’s efforts to increase their numbers, visitors can have a go at setting up a harvest mouse habitat!

Other attractions include bat talks, hedgehog talks, specialist stalls, activities and a food court with vegetarian and vegan options. Entry is free but donations are very welcome as Secret World relies on donations to care for the harvest mice and other animals on the site.

Donations of food for the animals are also very welcome, particularly Royal Canin baby cat biscuits for all the rescued hedgehogs on site, as well as non-biological washing powder for all the dirty laundry!

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