Thursday, 24 April 2014

Common Dormice

Our native dormouse is the "Common Dormouse". But it very poorly named...

It is not a mouse! The dormouse is in its only little group of animals named dormice, from the french word "dormir" - meaning to sleep. We have two species of dormice in Britain... the Common Dormouse, sometimes called the Hazel Dormouse, and the Edible Dormouse which has been introduced.

It is not a door!...

... have you stopped laughing yet?, I'll give you a bit more time to recover...

And it is sadly not common anymore, mainly due to habitat loss and habitat fragmentation.

There is a group called the Common Dormouse Captive Breeding Group (CDCBG), who manage and organise the breeding and reintroduction of common dormice back in to the wild. The BWC is part of this group, and we hold both breeding dormice to aid with the re-introduction efforts which take place every year, and educational dormice to house those which can't be returned to the wild.

These educational dormice can still have a vital role in their conservation through educating the public, which very rarely see this small, extremely nocturnal mammal which is asleep for half the year!


Last week we hosted the annual meeting for members of the CDCBG, where all matters dormice were discussed, including the successes of previous releases, plans for future re-introductions and husbandry matters. All dormice holders/breeders where here, as well as veterinarians from ZSL and representation from PTES who co-ordinate and organise the release of these animals back to the wild.

While here, dormice from all holders were collected to be taken to Paignton Zoo and London Zoo for quarantine before there release later this year.

It is only with direct conservation work like this, and co-operation from all sides, that we can begin to help dormice in the wild.


  1. It is a very cute animal, especially whena sleep :) Good luck with breeding and releasing, you do do a great job!


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