THE MILD winter has led to some tiny arrivals earlier than expected at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge.

The size of a baked bean when they are born, a group of seven baby harvest mice have been welcomed at the centre earlier this month.

When they are fully grown the minuscule mammals will still only be about 7cm long and weigh the amount of a two pence coin.

Mammal manager at the centre, John Crooks, said: “As the winter has been quite a warm one they have arrived earlier than expected, normally we wouldn’t expect to see them until at least February.

“They are growing quickly but even as a fully grown adult they are very small. Visitors enjoy spotting them in their exhibit at Back From the Brink.

“They can use their tails to grab branches so they look very acrobatic when they move around.”

The mice, which are the smallest type of British rodent, are part of the Back From The Brink collection at WWT Slimbridge which highlights wetland mammals which have been threatened with extinction in the wild.

Harvest mice are a wetland species but gained their English name from adapting to live in cereal crops.

With the arrival of combine harvesters and changes to farming methods they have returned back to the safety of their wetland reedbed habitat.