Species Focus: Dormouse

Posted by Fen Braund on 19/05/2014

Dormice are very rarely seen and one of our Assistant Ecological Consultants, Marc Anderton, was lucky enough to get up close and personal with a few recently, whilst on a Dormouse course in Somerset.

This little chap (nickname Gorgeous George) didn't bat an eyelid when Marc took his picture. Agile climbers and mainly nocturnal, they can spend their entire lives up in the branches without ever touching the ground. They like deciduous woodland, hedgerows and dense scrub (woodland, farmland, heath land and grassland) and reside mainly in Southern England and Wales. Dormice have excellent hearing and they communicate with each other through a variety of sounds.

The Dormouse eats buds, hazelnuts, berries and insects. they build summer nests in which the female will give birth to her young and hibernate during the winter months in a dense nest, usually in a tree cavity or similar sheltered place. Their sleepy reputation is due to the fact that they can hibernate for up to six months or even longer if the weather remains sufficiently cool!

With a lifespan of approximately 5 years, Dormice are protected by law and cannot be deliberately injured, killed, trapped or even disturbed in their nests - except under licence. The Dormouse is suffering from loss of habitat and suitable places to nest. Local Wildlife Trusts are helping this species by providing nest boxes, monitoring populations and even overseeing relocation and reintroduction programmes 

Ecosulis recently donated 500 dormouse tubes to Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Mammal Group. These will be used for monitoring works that are being undertaken to find out dormouse population size and health of the groups living in Somerset and the south west. Further details of the work being undertaken by Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Mammal Group can be found in our blog Ecosulis donates 500 Dormouse Tubes

To help preserve our Dormouse populations, please support your local Wildlife Trust and the work they do. Please feel free to contact us should you require any further information regarding the Dormouse.