Dormice are small rodents (between 6cm-9cm) of which Britain has one native species, the hazel dormouse. Dormice have golden-brown fur, large black eyes, a long tail and hibernate from October to April. They feed on flowers, fruits and nuts and are therefore often found in hedgerows.
The hazel dormouse (or common dormouse) is one of 29 different species of the rodent, but the only one native to the British Isles. They hibernate for six months of the year, or sometimes even longer if the weather remains cool, to conserve energy at times when food is scarce. Their name comes from dormeus, which means sleepy.
In England and Wales they are mainly found in southern areas, but there are also small populations in mid Wales and the Lake District.
Dormice are becoming increasingly rare in England and Wales as their natural territory of hedgerows and woodland shrinks and dormouse-friendly habitats become isolated from each other. The animals are important indicators of the health and biodiversity of woodland and hedgerows, as they require plenty of insects, flowers, berries and the ability to travel.
We are actively working to maintain and improve the hedgerows alongside canals, including the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, as well as installing dormouse boxes to provide secure nesting places for these animals.
Last date edited: 9 September 2016