A small mammal, the Dormouse is also known as the Hazel Dormouse. Agile climbers and mainly nocturnal, dormice are very rarely seen. They live in deciduous woodland, hedgerows and dense scrub and can spend their entire lives up in the branches without ever touching the ground. The Dormouse eats buds, hazelnuts, berries and insects. It builds summer nests of stripped honeysuckle bark in which the female will give birth to up to seven young. They hibernate during the winter months, in a dense nest built in a tree cavity or similar, sheltered place.
How to identify
The Dormouse has gingery-brown fur, large black eyes and a fluffy tail; it is much smaller than a Squirrel.
Where to find it
Southern England and Wales.
When to find it
How can people help
Despite its name, the Dormouse is suffering from loss of habitat and suitable places to nest. Local Wildlife Trusts are helping this species by providing nestboxes, monitoring populations and even overseeing relocation and reintroduction programmes - the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, for example, took a Dormouse population from Kent which had been displaced by the Channel Tunnel, and relocated it to a woodland in Buckinghamshire. These animals are now doing really well. Support your local Wildlife Trust and the work they do by becoming a member.