A few weeks ago we had our quick dormice pre-hibernation checks to make sure they were all OK for the winter, and confirm how many kits we have bred over the summer. Good news!.. Both our pairs have had large litters of dormice, and so we have many babies to prepare for release next year.
As part of the Common Dormouse Captive Breeders Groups (CDCBG) we, along with many other holders across the south, breed dormice as part of the studbook for release out in to the wild. Once out of hibernation next Spring they will all be collected up and released back in to the wild in collaboration with the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES).
We do have two species of dormice in the UK. The native, calm, small and adorable hazel dormouse above. Below is the larger, bitey and much more erratic edible dormouse that was introduced to the UK.
You can really see the size difference with both in the hand like this. Both species of dormice are entering, or have already started, to hibernate for the winter. Despite what many people think, only 3 of our mammal types hibernate... the dormice, hedgehogs and bats.
Other animals such as our badgers and squirrels don't hibernate, but do often slow down their activity to less time out of their nests while the days are shorter and weather is colder.
Of course another animal that tends to disappear over the winter are our adders, they will brumate during the winter months before waking up again ready to dance in the Spring.
With these changes in mind, and the shorter colder days upon us, we now close an hour earlier at 4pm and are on to our winter schedule for keeper talks, listed under the tab at the top of this page.