Dormice are protected under schedule 5 of the WCA 1981 (as amended). This means they are protected from intentional or reckless disturbance, intentional or reckless obstruction of access to any place of shelter or protection; and/or, selling, offering or exposing for sale, possession or transporting for purpose of sale. Furthermore, Dormice are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. It is illegal to injure, kill, capture or disturb a dormouse, and their habitats are protected against damage, destruction or obstruction..
Dormice are associated with ancient woodland, broadleaved woodlands and species-rich hedgerows. However, they can also be located within scrub habitats or plantation woodlands, especially where there is sufficient connectivity to a range of other habitats.
Dormice surveys can be carried out in several ways:
- One survey method is to search for the
presence of hazelnuts opened by dormice, although this is impractical if hazel is not locally present. Dormice open these nuts in a characteristic manner leaving tooth marks around the outside edge of the hole, with a smooth inner rim. The optimal periodfor nut searches is between September and December when nut shells and tooth marks are fresh.
- Dormouse nest tubes can be deployed across a habitat which has the potential to support dormice. Nest tubes are small plastic tubes with wooden trays that dormice will use to build their summer nests in and are largely effective between April and November. Surveys needs to gain an adequate ‘thoroughness’ score which is dependent on the number of tubes set out and the length of time these are left within the survey season.
- Dormouse nest boxes, similar to bird boxes, but with the entrance hole facing the tree, are readily used by dormice and offer an additional method of detecting the animals. These boxes can be used by dormice for nesting (as well as other mice).
Visit the full version of our Survey Calendar for suitable times for your survey to be conducted.
Natural England Licence
The Ecology Partnership has licensed dormouse survey workers (Natural England licence) to allow individuals to undertake dormouse surveys.
If dormice are found, then a mitigation strategy may well be required depending on the nature and extent of proposed works. If works require a dormouse licence from Natural England (for example hedgerow removal or loss of extensive scrub habitats) then The Ecology Partnership can write and apply for a licence on the client’s behalf. The Ecology Partnership has licensed dormice surveyors who are experienced with numerous licensed sites and Natural England requirements.
Please contact us for more information about dormouse surveys and other related activities. Email us, call us on 01372 364 133 or use our enquiry form below.
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