The Ecology Partnership have been monitoring a site in West Sussex for dormice by placing the dormouse tubes within the site. The site is a woodland and scrub mix, full of hazel, oak, sweet chestnut, beech, sycamore, silver birch, holly and a more open area of bramble and bracken.
Dormouse Tubes – Dormouse Nest Identification
Dormouse tubes were hung up on suitable trees and shrubs, then checked every month throughout the summer and autumn for nests. Dormice create a dense woven structure, using grass, stripped honeysuckle, fresh leaves, or whatever they can find. No other species creates such tightly woven balls, so if such a nest is found, this is evidence that dormice are using the site.
In October a nut search for hazelnuts was also carried out. Dormice eat these nuts in a very distinctive manner so it is possible to tell whether a hazel nut has been eaten by a squirrel, wood mouse, vole or dormouse.
No hazelnuts eaten by dormouse were found and no nests were found in the woodland areas. However, at the very edges of the woodland, three nests, and two live dormice were recorded!
Whilst empty nests are found frequently, finding occupied nests with dormice in them is somewhat more of a rarity so we were quite lucky to see these little guys.
For more information about Dormouse surveys click here.