Latin: Muscardinus avellanarius
The dormouse weighs 15-35 grams, and measures from the snout tip to the tail base 6-9 cm. The tail, which is 5-8 cm long, is a good feature, because it is covered with long hair.
The dense fur is reddish-brown on the upper side while it is lighter brown or greyish underneath. The legs are short, feet and long claws are an adaptation to its lifestyle.
Diet varies with the season, and it consists of buds, leaf shoots, pollen and nectar, berries, fruit, nuts and insects. Plants such as hazel, blackberry and plain goat leaf and insects such as aphids and butterfly larvae are just some of the species to be the dormouse's food choices.
Deciduous forest with herbs, berry and currant bushes and ferns as in vegetation and the undisturbed fringe of a wood are typical habitats for the dormouse. During the warm seasons it is important for the dormouse to take a large share of food.
During the summer the dormouse spends most of its time in the vegetation, and rarely moves around. It goes into hibernation from around October-November, in a tree or in soil. Dormice build nests under stones, moss or foliage.
Dormice live in round ball nests for the summer season, which dormice make from leaves, bark and other plant material. They build nests under vegetation or crowns, but can also be found in hollow trees.
The breeding season is from July to September, but mating often takes place in June or July. After three weeks of pregnancy the female gives birth to a litter of usually 3-4 pups. When the young are 30-40 days old, they are able to fend for themselves.
Only very rarely would dormice move over open areas but they spread by climbing through the vegetation. Corridors between suitable habitats are therefore necessary to ensure diversification opportunities, so that viable populations can be maintained.
Threats and Conservation
As the forest management became more intensive and deciduous forest was replaced by conifers dormice living conditions were deteriorating. Fragmentation of woodlands and the removal of hedgerows has also negatively impacted the habitats. The dormouse is dependent on the continuous vegetation, where it can move over large distances.
At Sydfyn a motorway is supposed to be built. The road will go through one of dormouse's key habitats, and it is planned to have a planted fauna crossing built across the road. This will ensure that the dormouse can spread, and that the stock will not be divided into two stocks that are unable to exchange genes.