June 2012 - A Project Participant's Perspective

posted 6 Jul 2012, 09:24 by Haley Whittall   [ updated 6 Jul 2012, 09:35 ]
Dormice survey - 17th June 2012

'dormouse n,pl -mice a small rodent resembling a mouse with a furry tail [origin unknown]' 

This is the definition of this tiny mammal in the 2011 Collins English Dictionary. Not only did this definition not help me with discovering what the origins of the name dormouse were, it also summed up how little we know about this rare species.

That is why the monitoring that Barry, Kate (a dormouse ecologist) and Crowborough Conservation are doing is very important.

The first time I helped last year we found seven dormice. It was very exciting to see so many and different ages both male and female. They were active and didn’t quite fit the idea of the ‘sleeping mouse.’

A dormouse in the hand
This year however when I volunteered we only found one dormouse. The wind had damaged some of the boxes. Many were very wet and it was a very cool and damp day for June. Some boxes had bird’s nests with abandoned unhatched eggs inside. This is a tough year for all living organisms including humans!

That solitary dormouse was evidence that they are still hanging on in the land around the Ghyll even in bad conditions. It also shows how weather conditions and habitat changes endanger all species and particularly increases the fragility of those who are endangered.

But that less exciting one dormouse is still very important because it will become part of a larger scientific survey that will increase our knowledge of the Dormouse. 

Photo by Ellen Kemp

Crowborough Conservation will have contributed to this wider work.

By Joy Clarke