Thursday, 23 October 2014

The hazel dormouse

The hazel dormouse is a rare nocturnal mammal which we are lucky enough to have at Wenlock Edge. As their name suggests they rely heavily on Hazel nuts which they eat to fatten up for the winter. This year the Hazel nut crop has been very good which could be the reason why we have found such healthy numbers of dormice on the edge recently. Below is a photo taken this week during a dormouse survey. 

You can find out if dormice are present by looking at nibbled hazelnuts; nuts which have been opened by squirrels will be cracked open whereas wood mice and dormice will nibble a round hole through the shell to get to the kernel inside. Wood mice will leave teeth marks around the surface of the hole but dormice will leave a very smooth finish which is unlike any other animal.