Dormice campaign

A hazel dormouse

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is urging the public to look in woodlands for half-eaten hazelnuts to help track down and record the whereabouts of the elusive, endangered dormouse. The hazel dormouse is difficult to find at the best of times, as Lewis Carroll reminds us – mainly because it spends most of its time asleep. According to Dr Pat Morris, an internationally-regarded expert on the dormouse, “They chew a little hole in the side of the nut and then suck out the contents. It’s very distinctive. It looks like a hole’s been drilled in the side”

The Trust notes “Hazel nuts, where available, are a favourite food of the dormouse. And luckily for us dormice leave distinctive tooth marks when they gnaw into the green hazel nuts, before eating the kernel and discarding the shell to fall to the forest floor. Thousands of volunteers took part in the first two nut hunts of 1993 and 2001, sending in hazel nuts from over 2,000 sites and helping to identify almost 500 woodlands that had dormice present across England and Wales. Now we would like you to get out into the woods again and help us find more nibbled nuts this autumn and winter.”

Here is a photo of a hazelnut eaten by a dormouse taken from the Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust website, which notes “a smooth circular cut with tiny radiating teeth marks is the sign of the Dormouse”. I am a little confused as this seems to contradict the above “they chew a little hole in the side of the nut and then suck out the contents.”
Haznut.jpg (31264 bytes)

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