Friday, 11 July 2014

Dormice Filming

A couple of years ago we were approached by the Surrey Dormouse Group (SDG) about filming some of our common dormice. The SDG have had some success in filming wild dormice, but some of the things they wished to capture on film proved to be very difficult to obtain in the wild. One of these things was nest building.

So, with our help, we set up a in box camera which detected movement to with it on, and then left it and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough we saw the dormouse come and go, so on a mild string of nights we removed half the bedding, and left it running again. The dormouse obliged by building  nest with the hay in her box and some fresh material.

With this success, we continued, and on the next row of warm, mild nights, we gave her an empty nest box and lots of fresh natural material such as hazel and honeysuckle. What resulted was some beautiful footage of her building a nest out of these natural materials, a little out of focus in places, but still a very unique experience to see.

But why am I telling you all this now? After a brief hiatus, the SDG are back to try and improve on the footage they managed to get a few years ago, and maybe even try and go better and get some young dormice activity on camera.

Unfortunately they left it a little late to set it up on our breeding dormice, we didn't want to risk upsetting them during their season, but we were able to set it up once again with one of our single dormice to see if we get any more, and better, nest building action!

The dormice we use for the recording are educational dormice, ones that are no longer part of the breeding programme, but deemed unsuitable to return to the wild. But by helping us with this video recording they are just showing us another insight in to their secrete worlds and helping all learn more about these amazing little animals.

Once the footage has been collected, I will put a video or two up on the blog, and in the mean time I will try and get SDG to release the older footage for you to see. Fingers crossed, hopefully I will be allowed to share it... It really is great footage!

For more recent photos of our dormice, have a look on our sister blog by clicking on the tab at the top of this page "More BWC Photos"

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