The Harvest Mouse, aka Micromys minutus, measures just two-to-three inches in length, and weighs about half as much as your typical house mouse. But M. minutus — which makes its home in wheat fields, reed beds, and other forms of tall vegetation — has a unique and enviable skill that its more domestic cousins simply can't touch.
By virtue of a prehensile tail, proportionally large feet, and big, opposable outer toes, the harvest mouse is nothing if not an acrobatic badass. And we've got the pictures to prove it.
According to The Telegraph, these images come from a series captured by photographers Jean-Louis Klein and Marie-Luce Hubert over the course of 12 months in the fields of Alsace, France. They provide a rare glimpse into the surprisingly nimble exploits of these tiny creatures, as they leap, swing, and shimmy from reed-to-reed with a facility that would make Peter Parker jealous.
"The feet are specially adapted for climbing, with the outer of the five toes on each foot being large and more-or-less opposable," writes University of Michigan's Francesca Ivaldi. "This mouse can grip a stem with each hindfoot and its tail, leaving the forepaws free for collecting food. It can also use its tail for balance as it scurries along long grass stems."
All photos by BIOSPHOTO / SPECIALIST STOCK / BARCROFT MEDIA via The Telegraph
Hat tip to Joelle!