Happy Christmas Little Dormice!

Normally I don’t have any idea of what I would like for Christmas and if anyone asks, then I can never think of anything. This year however I decided to be prepared and managed quite a long list covering various price ranges. Just my luck, no-one rang to ask but I  left the list lying around anyway,  hoping that maybe someone would take the hint!

A few days before Christmas a very large parcel appeared and I was told it was a sledge!!! Ha ha, we hardly ever get any snow here in the winter. You will have to imagine this all wrapped in Christmas paper, I was too quick to find out what it was, forgot to photograph it first!

Dormice boxes

Cleverly packed together were 4 Dormice boxes! I had found a website  –                         www.theowlbox,co.uk       and as well as making owl boxes they make dormice boxes too!

Dormice boxes

So here we have 4 little homes for our resident dormice, they won’t find them until they come out of hibernation, sometime in April, so we have plenty of time to put them up in the garden. The green ties are for fastening them to fence posts or thin trees, I think fence posts will be a safer bet.   So it will be Christmas, 2013, when they will get the benefit of their new homes, and they have a choice too, lucky dormice! Somebody now has a job to do, fixing them up in the garden!

The school next door,  which was for sale last year ( click here if you want to read about the planning application and us fighting for our dormice habitat) has been sold and we have met the young couple who have bought it and now moved in. They say that they will be leaving the outside just as it is and not extending it as in the plans, which is good. I have been told that the plot between the school and our garden has been sold,  so will wait to meet our other new neighbours and explain why the hedge and trees between us are so important for the dormice and also gently advise them of all the penalties they will face if they alter the habitat in any way!   Hopefully the dormice will now be safe and that they will  enjoy their new homes when they eventually find them !


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16 Responses to Happy Christmas Little Dormice!

  1. That’s a dormouse village! I got a robin nest box and two bat boxes for Christmas – very pleased. No dormice here though (that I’ve seen). Could you post me a couple? Happy New Year, Dave

    • Pauline says:

      Dave, it was finding their nests at the back of borders that alerted me to the fact that they are here, beautiful spheres of interwoven grass, we also found a dormouse in the strawberry patch one morning when we were watering! One of my neighbours wondered why blue tits weren’t using the nest box in his garden, when he investigated the little head of a dormouse popped out!! Will get the houses up and report back whether we have any residents later although once hibernating they musn’t be disturbed. I once put up a bat box, a blue tit nested in it, hope you have better luck than I did!!

  2. Cathy says:

    I know not everyone would be happy having dormice resident in their garden (as they don’t stop at just the berries!), but yours are clearly happy in their environment and you seem to share a mutual respect. I read through your previous post about the bats and the planning application, and hope your new neighbours show the same respect for the local habitat. Having only begun reading your blog during the summer I am so looking forward to seeing your woodland area as it progresses towards the spring, Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, we feel so honoured to have dormice in the garden, they are becoming so rare in the countryside due to farming practises, their habitat is so well protected now by law, I feel we have to do all we can to encourage them. They spend almost 2/3 of the year asleep so I think they ought to have a safe house to do so! One little house will be put in the woodland, one in the border by the school and the other 2 on the fence by the field next door, such a super Christmas present! The woodland is gradually starting again, lots of snowdrops up and almost flowering, more hellebores opening each day and summer snowflakes won’t be long behind!!

  3. Kate says:

    You are so lucky with your dormice – not a hint of anything like that with me. I do hope your new neighbours work out; it’s such a lottery… I shall keep fingers crossed for both you and the dormice.

    • Pauline says:

      Kate, we were so delighted when we found evidence of them here. In 1995 I was asked to paint a Parish Map of the village and its main houses and other buildings, round the edge the wildlife that lived in the village was requested. So many people said that they had dormice in their gardens or on their farms and I was so envious! Imagine my delight when I found the first of the hibernation nests, with another the following year, just at the back of the borders, I now don’t clear the back of borders for fear of disturbing any wildlife. They should be a lot safer in their own special houses!

  4. Anna says:

    Oh what an unusual and thoughful present Pauline. The perfect des res for your doormice. I knew that they slept a fair but but did not realise that it was that much 🙂 Hope that your other new neighbours are reasonable folk too – keeping fingers crossed for you and the doormice.

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, the name dormouse means ” the sleepy one” I suppose from the french “dormire” to sleep. It hibernates from October to April and then of course it is asleep during the day. We will be keeping on good terms with the new neighbours, hope to find that they are wildlife friendly as we are.

  5. Christina says:

    Perfect present! I’m going to check out the owl boxes, thanks for the link. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      It was perfect Christina, I hope they appreciate it! We have a Barn owl box on the garage by the field, given to me years ago by daughter and sil, it is still waiting for a tenant, but last year we noticed that some grass was sticking out of the hole, so you never know, maybe this year. We also have a Tawny owl which comes a lot in the winter, so must buy them a home soon!

  6. Donna says:

    Pauline, this is such a novel idea. I never saw anything like it for the garden. Dormice are house mice? I am unfamiliar with the word. Oh, I hate to ask, but could you please fill in your URL in comments when visiting GWGT? That is how I come to your site. I would appreciate it. If WP would let me leave out email I would, but I like the link back to the blogs that visit. Many others use them too from my site to other blogs. It helps getting new readers.

    • Pauline says:

      No Donna,we wouldn’t encourage house mice! Dormice live in the countryside in the hedges and trees, they have lovely golden fur, a furry tail and huge black eyes. They are becoming very scarce because of changes in farming practices and they and their habitat are now so well protected by law that fines of thousands of pounds can be incurred by destroying their habitat or disturbing them while hibernating. We felt they could do with a bit of protection for their hibernation nests!
      I have tried to leave another message on your blog but wordpress obect if I don’t ckick their symbol. Will have a word with my son who has to sort out anything to do with my blog for me!

  7. wellywoman says:

    What brilliant presents. I’d love to encourage more wildlife into the garden but with so many neighbourhood cats it’s impossible. Even birds have been short on numbers this year. Hopefully your new neighbours will understand how precious dormouse habitat is.

    • Pauline says:

      WW, we will have to have the new neighbours round for coffee and a chat sometime and drop the subject of dormice into the conversation somehow! We have a couple of cats who sometimes come into the garden here, once I saw a mole being carried home and once a squirrel, hopefully they only come during the day when the dormice are either asleep or hibernating!

  8. Alberto says:

    Brilliant Pauline! Writing a list and leaving it around the house… I shall do that for my birthday!
    The little nest boxes are very nice, I hope the dormice will enjoy them. I am so happy about the neighbourhood thing, all your struggle can come to an end hopefully.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, Alberto, it certainly worked! I too hope that our dormice like their new homes, will just have to be patient and wait and see. Hopefully our problems with dormouse habitat next door will be over, will try gentle persuasion to bring our new neighbours round to our way of thinking!

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