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Hazel Dormouse

Hazel Dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius Hazel or common dormouse is the only native species of dormouse in Britain measures just 6-9cm and has golden brown fur and a distinctive furry tail. As it's nocturnal, it has very large eyes. It's one of the few British mammals that hibernate, and this makes its life course something quite interesting to look into: Getting ready to hibernate I Comming out of hibernation I Early summer Hibernation begins when the nights become cool in the • Dormouse weight (average) autumn. In reaction to this, the body temperature of the Dormouse average temperature I Average temperature in England (Max. and Min.) dormouse drops to approach that of its surroundings, and I Mid-summer its heart and breathing rate often drop by 90% or more. I Autumn While hibernating the dormouse is tightly rolled up with the tail curled over its abdomen and face. А year The beginning of hibernation D J 30°C They wake up occasionally on warmer nights to feed, urinate and drink. Fat reserves gathered in the summer and autumn. Dormice have to be 15g - 18g to enter 15°C F and survive hibernation. N Avg: 20g 0°C The end of hibernation Autumn M During hibernation they lose about 33% of body weight. They eat fruit and seeds: Hazelnuts, blackberries, sloes, sweet chesnuts, elderberries, Avg: 13g - 15g rose hipes, willow seeds, way faring tree, yew berries. A Coming out of hibernation They eat tree flowers (hawthorn, sycamore, wayfaring tree and dogwood). M Example: Nuts and berries Example: Flowers J J Early summer Hazel dormice diet varies with the availability of They eat flower nec and honeysuckle. Mid-summer There're no flowers different foods from early spring until late autumn. and the berries aren't ripe yet, so they eat aphids and caterpillars. Example: Flower nectar Example: Insects ACTIVITY AND DAILY TORPOR Photoperiod* is the principal external HIBERNATING HIBERNATING Torpor АСTIVE factor influencing dormouse activity Torpor is somewhat like hibernation: The dormouse's body throughout the year. Although this Almost 100% 100% varies between individuals, the becomes cold. During cool or wet periods in summer, dormice may spend several hours a day in a state of torpor. Torpor probably saves around 20% of the energy majority of dormice tend to be more active in September than in May. 40% I% Adults active 1990 - 2013 that would normally be used during a day. (*) Photoperiod is the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day or night. 20% FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC A life of contrasts Awake time Dormice are mainly nocturnal and spend most of the time in the branches. When hibernation begins Main nest materials Hibernation time A few leaves are built into a loose outer layer. their lifestyle changes dramatically. DORMOUSE NESTS In spring and summer, dormice weave their nest up in the branches where there's food available. Later in winter they descend to the ground to hibernate. The temperature here is low and fairly constant. Also, the air is always moist, reducing water loss and it prevents dormice from becoming dehydrated. Summer nest Shredded honey suckle bark or other fibrous material is made into a 8-15 cm ball about the size of a grapefruit and can be found in bramble bushes. Winter nest TIME SLEEPING A tight woven fibrous nest, about the size of a tennis ball. They make The dormouse spends almost half its year in 6.5 cm them on the surface of 40% hibernation. Tennis ball the ground or in a small depression. Vulnerability Dormice are very vulnerable to habitat HABITAT quality, weather, population size and 2-3% The best habitat for dormice dispersal corridors. And these are the is semi-natural woodland. This habitat now occupies only 2-3% of the land in England and Wales. main factors which mean dormice are on the brink of extinction. DORMOUSE DISTRIBUTION 32,000 ha Widespread populations of ancient semi-natural woodland have been lost from Scattered populations these counties since 1930. Only 23% of all woodland in England is of this type The rest are plantations and various other woodland that usually offer optimal habitat for dormice. 23% Map: PTES Dormouse Research WEATHER GREY SQUIRRELS Dormice live in areas where there's more sunlight. Grey squirrels are more abundant than red squirrels and they eat a Variable winters cause problems (e. g. waking the animals while they hibernate) similar diet to hazel dormice. As Sunshine opens flowers and helps insects to grow (both essential foods). they're bigger than dormice, they need to take larger quantities of food. * Sunny warm summer DEERS & RABBITS * Cold winter Roe, muntjac and fallow are all increasing in numbers and distribution Rainy weather O Excessive rain Cold winters means high Deer and rabbits browse and reduce aren't an issue. moisture and this understory (e. g. hazel and bramble) It tends to reduce the regeneration of all tree species. Variable winter is bad for dormice. Things to do REINTRODUCTION PROVIDE NEST BOXES There is a desire to reinforce populations in They're good for dormice and provide information to ecologists. areas where dormouse sites are few and widely scattered as a result of habitat fragmentation. Inspecting nest boxes requires a licence from Natural England or Natural Resources Wales in areas where dormice are already known to be present. 18 1993 → 2014 The first re-introduction took place in 1993 and since then 18 re-introductions have taken place throughout England. HABITAT MANAGEMENT Conditions for dormice may Main objectives in a woodland managed for dormice and other wildlife: therefore be improved by appropriate planting, • Create log piles and mini clearings in PAWS coni fers. • Maintain arboreal connectivity throughout the wood. • Create linked coppice blocks. coppicing, thinning or felling. • Small scale selective fellings every four years (max. 10%). • Manage mature standard trees and • Control invasive species. • Retain some old fruiting hazel. allow some young trees to develop. • Retain bramble. • Create and maintain glades and • Bring derelict coppice back into wide rides. rotation. • Protect coppice stools from deer and rabbit browsing. • Retain climbing plants, veteran trees and dead wood. More info: SOURCES Illustrations and design: Clara Prieto 'The dormouse conservation handbook by Paul Bright, Pat Morris and Tony Mitchell-Jones. (4 The Berkshire Mammal Group ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 'Dormice. A Tale of Two Species by Pat Morris. people's trust for endangered species Berkshire Mammal Group 'The Hazel Dormouse by Rimvydas Juškaitis and Sven Büchner. Amanda Lloyd. Ecologist specialising in British mammals. 'Managing Small Woodlands for Dormice. A Guide for Owners and Managers' by lan White and Laura Hurt. People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) lan White. PTES Dormouse & Training Officer.

Hazel Dormouse

shared by Clara-Prieto on Jul 05
IN COLLABORATION WITH: Berkshire Mammal Group and People's Trust for Endangered Species ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Amanda Lloyd and Ian White This British mammal caught my attention from the very outset. It...





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