The Surrey Dormouse project started in 2002 and consisted of just a few boxes on one of our reserves to monitor the presence of dormice. From this small beginning we now have over a thousand boxes in over twenty woodlands throughout the county. The number of records has increased enormously and also the protection of these woodlands, by incorporating habitat improvements into existing management plans.
Dormice hibernate during the winter in nests that they make hidden away on the ground. It is only in late spring, when they come out of hibernation and start eating, that they look for places to breed. This is where the nesting boxes become useful for them as dry, quiet places to have their young.
Surrey Wildlife Trust actively monitors dormice in 22 woodlands aroundSurrey. Mammal officer Dave Williams and a group of volunteers and ecologists monitor these sites on certain days each month from April to October. The monitoring teams carefully check 25 - 50 boxes in each woodland to look for dormice; each box and any contents (including species other than dormice!) are recorded.
The dormice are weighed and sexed and then this information is sent in to the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme so that an overall picture of the status of theUK dormouse population can be determined. We have plans to increase our monitoring to cover the whole of the county, to ensure that dormice will survive and hopefully increase.
188 sites were monitored for dormice last year in the UK.
The webcam footage below shows a young male dormouse investigating a new box installed by Surrey Wildlife Trust.
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