For this weeks #factfriday we are focusing on the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)!
The word dormouse comes from the French word dormir, which means “to sleep” and that’s what they love to do best! These shy creatures are nocturnal and arboreal, living in trees for most of their lifetime. Due to this, they have few natural predators and can live up to five years! (a long time for such a small mammal).
They are one of only three U.K mammals that hibernate, one of the reasons this makes them so vulnerable to extinction in Britain. Populations of dormice have fallen by 33% in the last 20 years, mainly due to loss of woodland and hedgerow but also because of changes in countryside management practices.
It’s not all bad news however, many conservation organisations, such as the Woodland Trust and National Trust, have set up programmes in order to restore ancient woodland from coniferous forest to improve the habitat for the resident dormice.
Who couldn’t love this little guy!