Furry ginger thing with a spine

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 14 October 2011 18:42

I'm not really that up on mammals so it will not come as a surprise to know that I saw my first ever Dormice at West Dean Woods today! I went out with Mark Monk-Terry and the volunteers (who all have Dormice handling licences I should add) to monitor the population there. There are 50 boxes that are checked and any small mammals are sexed and weighed, the animal above weighed only 12g. We saw I think 13 Dormice in all, and this was the only one that was in a torpor, perhaps because it was alone within a small nest. Here is a better example of a Dormouse nest.
We found a male and female in one box that were huge, much bigger than the others, and the female, one of the biggest they had ever seen, was thought possibly to be pregnant. At 35g she was nearly three times the size of the one above. It's nearly as big as Mark's hand. We left a flyer for Weight Watchers.
I don't really get cute things but I have to say they are quite cute. Compared to the hectic nature of the Yellow-necked Mouse below, that run around inside the bag like a whirlwind and don't really give the impression that they would be easy to handle, the Dormice do seem quite appealing. They are very docile, they don't bite often and even fall asleep in the bags when you are weighing them. They also look considerably less like rats and much more like tiny monkeys with their rather silly feet (look at the second photo above). So, I can see why people go all gooey eyed at them.
You can see the complete yellow band across the neck on the Yellow-necked Mouse above. Compare to the Wood Mouse below. It was a great day and it has made me realise I would like to do more with small mamals. For part two of todays adventures you will have to wait until tomorrow as Mark showed me two species of fungi new to me at Ebenoe right near the car park!

3 Response to "Furry ginger thing with a spine"

Lucy Says:

I found a dead mouse once that I thought was a doormouse but, looking at the photos above, I think I was wrong. Now I don't have a clue. It was bigger than the ordinary mice the cats bring back and had unusually large ears.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Wood Mice have pretty big ears I think (compared to a House Mouse) but alas we will never know!

LauraJ Says:

http://io9.com/5879556/snoring-dormouse-is-so-adorable-your-head-will-explode. For your delectation.

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