Dormouse Monitoring throughout Bedfordshire - ongoing
The Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) has been in dramatic decline in both number and range since the 1950's across Britain.
Hazel Dormice are short lived rodents, who hibernate between November - April each year, giving them just 6 months to build their nests, find a mate, give birth and rear a litter of approx. 4 young, before gaining enough weight to make it through hibernation when the temperature drops.
They have to do all this, while being out-competed by other species (some non-native such as the Edible Dormouse, Glis Glis) for food resources, losing their native habitat; deciduous woodlands and traditionally managed woodlands (copping and other traditional techniques in decline since the 1950's), and now climate change; all hibernating species need a consistently low temperature throughout the winter.. With the fluctuating temperatures we are experiencing now, animals use up valuable fat stores waking before the vegetation they rely on for food has sprung.
A number of sites are consistently monitored for the elusive Hazel Dormouse throughout Bedfordshire, you are welcome to observe box checks; visit the calendar page and contact the relevant site leader to ask for details.
We also submit our records to the People's Trust for Endangered Species to contribute to the national monitoring scheme.
Hazel, or Common Dormice are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and as such it is an offence to disturb, harm, catch or kill them without license. All our dormice surveyors are fully licensed by Natural England.
Identified by: Golden coat, large black eyes, furry tail, sometimes with white tip.
Head-body length: 6.5-8cm
Tail length: 80% of body length
Weight: 20g average, up to 35g pre hibernation
Lifespan: Up to five years
Diet: flowers, fruits, berries, hazel nuts, occasional caterpillars, aphids.
Preferred habitat / species: Deciduous woodland / Oak, Hazel, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Willow, Honeysuckle, Bramble.
Identifying Dormice apart from other rodents
Hazel or Common Dormouse
Shrews are much smaller with an elongated snout
Voles have a stout face and smaller ears.