Eastern Harvest Mouse

Eastern Harvest Mouse: (Reighrodontomys humulis)

The eastern harvest mouse (reighrodontomys humulis) is a member of the cricetidae family. They average between 4.5 to 6 inches long and their tails are between 2 to 3 inches long, weighing between 1/4 ounce to 1/2 an ounce.

Eastern harvest mice are small with short tails. Its upper body fur consists of a rich brown, sometimes with a pale gray color. They also have a dark stripe going down the middle of its back, its sides are lighter in color than its upper body. Its under – parts are a cinnamon, pinkish or pale gray color. Their tails are slim, lightly furred, bi-colored and shorter than its body brown. Their eyes are small, round and black in color. They have 4 toes in on their front paws and 5 on their back paws. Their teeth are sharp and are used for gnawing.   Eastern harvest mice are found throughout the southeastern United States, including Florida. Their preferred habitats are old fields, brushy borders of cultivated fields as well as areas that consist of low lying grass, dense vegetation or black berry vines.

Eastern harvest mice are omnivores consuming both plant and animals. They primarily consume seeds, grains, fruits, grass hoppers and crickets, however they can go for long periods of time without water, maybe because of the seeds and grains it consumes.  

Eastern harvest mice are nocturnal, except during very cold temperatures when it may be active during the day. During the colder temperatures these mice huddle together in the nest at night to reduce heat loss, foraging in the day time when its warmer. They do not dig or construct their own burrows or tunnels, instead they inhibit burrows of other species such as the hispid cotton rat. They are also excellent climber and spend most of their time above ground in dense vegetation foraging. The eastern harvest mouse usually breeds throughout the year, peeking in late spring and late fall. They can begin breeding as early as 11 to 12 weeks old. The average litter size is between 2 to 3, but they can have up to 8. Its gestation period is approximately 22 days. When the young are born their eyes are sealed shut. Their eyes begin to open in 7 days. They grow extremely fast and by the time the young reach 3 to 4 weeks the mother has them completely weaned.

The eastern harvest mouse is known to carry salmonellosis disease which can be transmitted to humans.