After last month’s disappointment (and the huge proportion of boxes that were being used by birds) I didn’t have high hopes for the dormouse box checks this month. But, once again, I was wrong. On my fourth monthly box check we finally found a dormouse!
Just the one, but a very cute one. It only weighed 12.5g, which is quite small for an adult. But weights tend to be low in June, as many won’t have been out of hibernation all that long.
It was the first dormouse I’ve seen this year, so I was quite relieved it was torpid and easy to handle. I think the warmth of my hand started to wake it up, as it clung to my fingers. But it seemed to go straight back to sleep when it was back in its nest, so will just have hazey memories of a weird dream.
I say its nest – in fact, he has just moved into a bird’s nest, so it’s not at all typical of a dormouse nest. Maybe, since it’s so small, it was preserving energy for feeding, and making do with a bird’s nest until it has put on a bit of weight. It’s not unusual for dormice to build a nest on top of a used bird’s nest, but this dormouse hasn’t got round to home improvements yet. All the bird’s nests in boxes were empty this month, so hopefully the dormice will start to recolonise them.
Dormice aren’t the only mice taking over from birds – one former bird’s nest had a couple of apodemus mice hunkering down. I didn’t manage to see their necks, so can’t tell if they were woodmice or yellow necked.
Seeing the dormouse made my day – they really are incredibly endearing. And hopefully it will be the first of many.