The Hazel Dormouse is also known as the Dormouse or the Common Dormouse and can be found in the south of England. It often lives in semi-natural ancient woodlands where there are a variety of deciduous mature trees.
The Hazel Dormouse prefers to live in mature oak trees. These trees offer good shelter and food throughout the year. Oak trees are large deciduous trees about forty five metres high. The top of the trees are very wide and dense with lots of rugged branches. Oak trees flower in mid-Spring and their acorns ripen in autumn. Oak trees provide the Hazel Dormouse with flowers, pollen, insects and nuts.
The Hazel Dormouse also eats chestnuts, wild berries, blackberries and honeysuckle. Sometimes it eats birds’ eggs and insect larvae. The favourite food of the Hazel Dormouse is hazelnuts. It usually eats them when they are not fully ripe and when they are still on the tree.
When a Hazel Dormouse has finished eating a hazelnut, the nut looks like a tiny wooden clog. There is a neat hole on one side of the hazelnut and the inner part of the hole is perfectly smooth. On the outer rim of the hole you can see little chisel-like tooth marks. The nibbled, clog-like hazelnuts are easy to recognise on the ground and they usually suggest that a Hazel Dormouse is nearby!
The Hazel Dormouse also loves honeysuckle. Honeysuckle supplies the Hazel Dormouse with berries from July to September. The Hazel Dormouse also uses the bark of the honeysuckle to construct its nests.