We started with a flurry of activity firstly with installing 50 dormouse boxes wthin the woodland as part of the People Trust for Endangered Species dormice monitoring
Hazel dormice are enigmatic and endearing. They are also threatened with extinction. National monitoring shows the population of hazel dormice has declined by half since 2000 with the species hanging on mostly in southern parts of England and Wales. Climate change, as well as changes in woodland management, farming practices and loss of hedgerows, have all taken a heavy toll on their living space. Dormice are good indicators of animal and plant diversity, and dormouse-friendly habitats are also good for woodland birds, bats and butterflies which is why we’re working hard to reverse the decline and promote recovery.
Hazel dormice rely on good tree and shrub diversity to provide them with food when they are active. They will feed on shrub flowers in spring, insects over summer and fruit and nuts in autumn. Their specialised diet isn’t available over winter, so they hibernate on the ground for about five months until spring.
Such a long hibernation reduces their active period and they generally produce only a single litter (although they may occasionally produce two litters) of four young, usually in August or September. On average dormice live for three years but they can live up to five years in the wild.
Thanks to Sandra and Peter Wells, ecologists, for sharing thier time and expertise with us to help install 50 Dormouse Boxes within our woods and for commencing the program of monitoring.