Scientific name: Muscardinus avellanarius
Hazel dormice are hard to spot – not only do they only come out at night, but they are also only found in a very few places in the UK. Dormice spend a lot of their time hibernating – and are known to snore!
Average lifespan: 5 years
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Listed as a European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.
When to seeApril to October
AboutDormice are barely ever seen due to the fact they spend most of the day asleep! At night they come alive, climbing high into the trees on the hunt for a tasty snack. Their favourite foods are hazelnuts, berries and insects. Dormice build nests out of grass and leaves ready for the female to give birth to up to seven young. In autumn, dormice start looking for the perfect spot to hibernate for winter. They often choose to sleep in logs or leaves at the base of trees or just beneath the ground where they can avoid the winter cold.
How to identifyThe hazel dormouse has gingery-brown fur, large black eyes and a long, fluffy tail; it is much smaller than a squirrel.
In our area
Shropshire Wildlife Trust has sustainable colonies of dormice at our woodland reserves in the south of the county. We have installed many dormouse boxes to help these populations and regularly monitor them.