Sunday, 23 September 2012

What is it? #1 revealed.....

photo:Julie Doherty
Well, were you right? The very cute creatures in this week's picture were dormice, also known as hazel dormice as their favourite food is hazelnuts.

They are nocturnal and mainly arboreal in the summer. This means that they live in trees, rarely going down to the ground. This helps to keep them safe from predators.

photo:Julie Doherty

The babies are born blind and the ones in the photo are still very young. They were found in a dormouse box in Avon. This box had been used to make a nest and contained several babies. The babies stay with their mother for up to 6 weeks and must weigh 12-15g before hibernation, otherwise they may not have enough fat stored to get them through the winter. At Avon Wildlife Trust we monitor a selection of dormouse boxes across the region, weighing and sexing all the dormice that we find so that we can get a good idea of how the population is doing. All our data goes to the People's Trust for Endangered Species which runs the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme.

You won't find dormice in Scotland or Northern Ireland and there are very few in Wales. Even in England they have become extinct in up to 7 counties. The dormouse is now considered to be in decline and extremely vulnerable and consequently listed as a Biodiversity Action Plan species. You can find out much more on this dormouse factsheet, compiled by Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

No comments:

Post a Comment