Friday, 6 January 2012

Nocturnal House

Winter has seen the arrival of a new keeper talk for the Centre on Common Dormice, and it has proved to be very popular with many people saying it is the first time they have ever seen one before! This is great news for us, as it was a little teaser for what is to come later in the year.

As those of you who have been to one of our dormice talks will know, our new planed exhibit for 2012 is a "Nocturnal House" where we propose to switch day and night around to display our more strictly nocturnal animals to you during our day.

By using special lighting we propose to make our night their day, and our day their night... hopefully encouraging them to explore their enclosures while you are here to see them. Since the 3 types of animals we hope to show you are our only hibernaters, this may prove the best way for you to see them as for most of the year they are asleep and they are arguably our most nocturnal animals even during the warmer months when they are a bit more active.

As well as both types of dormice (the Common, or Hazel, and the Edible), we will also have a nocturnal enclosure for our hedgehogs. Our hedgehogs in the hedgerow are very happy, and used to being used for educational talks, but are very difficult to see outside of their Summer keeper talk. Therefore we have decided to create a second hedgehog home within our nocturnal house for you to see them "out and about" at night.

Finally, we are hopeful of being able to house some of our native bats for you to see. This could be very difficult as a lot of legislation covers our British bats, and they are a difficult mammal to keep in an enclosure, but our British bats do make up a quarter of all the mammals we have living in this country and so it is a shame that we do not currently recognise them here.

More details of this new exhibit will come throughout the next few months, and we hope to have it opened in time for our Easter holiday opening. But for now here are a couple of bat facts to wet your appetite...

- There are currently 18 recognised bat species living in Great Britain, 17 of which are known to be breeding
- Bats are not blind, but use echolocation to find their way around
- Bats can live up to 30 years
- Even the smallest bat, the pipistrelle, can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night
- Bats are more closely related to humans than mice

For those who have missed it, the Common Dormouse keeper talk will continue 1:00pm everyday during our February half term opening. After which we will have to stop it, apart from the occasional meet and greet, due to crowd size and the dormice habits.

1 comment:

  1. Very sweet little tinkers! I look forward to seeing many more photos of all their progress :) I am currently thinking of a British Wildlife orientated painting so I'll keep my eyes peeled for inspiration! Jules