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The autumn fruits and berries are welcome to all the animals hoping to put on weight or makes stores ready for the winter. With such a hot summer many trees and shrubs will not be bearing such large quantities as normal, so any food that we can supplement in our gardens will help them through this period.

Secret World Wildlife has a pair of harvest mice in our interpretation room. People love seeing them as they are the smallest mice in the world. You can imagine how surprised we were when someone brought a baby one in as a casualty. It was about the size of my thumb nail. Anything so tiny needs to be fed every 2 hours as they have such a fast metabolic rate with three hours being equal to a day to them. It was best to use a paint brush to feed it some milk and it was able to suck the liquid from the bristles. Luckily it weaned within three days and was soon nibbling on fruit, seeds and sweet biscuit so the dedication of feeding through the night didn’t last long!

Harvest mice are the rarest mammal found in this country. They are in decline as their habitat is being lost as they need rough permanent grass to hide in and feed from. They sometimes build a beautiful spherical nest woven in the branches of a stem using strips of grass. This is where they will have their young. They can have up to 6 babies which, when they come out of the nest, look like small bumble bees. There are new introduction programmes in protected habitats to try and protect this mammal that has almost disappeared.

We are busy getting ready for our annual auction and ball that will be our first since 2019. With the theme ‘Under the Sea’ it is set to be a fun evening at the Webbing Hotel on October 22nd. Find out more details on our website There is a coach running to take local people to the event to save driving.

It will soon be hedgehog season! Look out for underweight hedgehogs needing care. We are always here for advice 01278 783250.

Pauline Kidner

2nd September 2022

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