Homes for the 'sleepy ones'

Photo: Dormouse nest by Gwen Hitchcock

The word dormouse translates literally as 'sleepy one'. Find out more about how we are helping them to be more comfortable on our reserves.

Hazel dormice are undeniably one of the cutest animals we have in this country, but they can also help us with our conservation work. These cuddly looking creatures are a really good indicator of how well our woodlands and living landscapes are doing. By monitoring our dormouse populations, we can keep an eye on how well our woodland management is going.

Dormouse boxes provide a safe shelter for this threatened species and other small mammals. In addition, they are used to monitor the dormouse populations on our reserves.

It is essential that these boxes are kept clean and in good condition, to encourage dormice and to reduce the chances of parasites or disease. Our ecology group volunteers and staff are currently out cleaning the boxes and replacing those that have seen better days.

We now have a group of volunteers who are helping us build new boxes. We are working with students at Swavesey Village College, a ‘Men in Sheds’ community group in Bedford, and with our own youth rangers to put these together. We also have a number of dedicated volunteers who are able to build them at home with the materials we provide. This enables us to replace 100-200 boxes a year with new ones that any dormouse would be proud to call home.

Please be aware that dormice are strictly protected by law and may not be intentionally killed, injured or disturbed in their nests, collected or trapped except by a licenced professional. If you see a dormouse box on one of our reserves please do not disturb it.

Dormouse boxes and dormice

Photo: Dormouse boxes by Gwen Hitchcock