Via the Surrey Dormouse Project (you have to love the Brits!), we have this adorable video of a dormouse in torpor, snoring away:
There are several species of dormouse, found mostly in Europe, but the famous one is the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), a nocturnal rodent named after its favorite food, hazelnuts. They hibernate underground through the winter (the specimen above is undoubtedly one of these), and are protected throughout Europe: their numbers are declining because of habitat loss.
A dormouse website shows the characteristic sign of their presence:
Dormice like to eat hazelnuts and if you examine a hazelnut shell it is possible to tell for certain whether it has been eaten by a dormouse. Look at the picture of the hazelnuts [below]. Both have been eaten by Dormice. The characteristics are a neat smooth circular cut to the inside of the opening and tiny radiating teeth marks on the outside. Woodmice also like hazelnuts and eat them in a similar way but the inside of the cut shell is not smooth as woodmice gnaw across the cut. Squirrels just crack the nuts open with their powerful jaws.
So remember, a smooth circular cut with tiny radiating teeth marks is the sign of the Dormouse!
And, of course, we have the world’s most famous dormouse, the always-sleeping rodent from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Here the dormouse is sleeping at tea next to the Mad Hatter. Eventually the Hatter and the March Hare wake him up by putting his head into the teapot.
You can adopt a dormouse for only twenty pounds, and receive a personalized adoption certificate as well as a soft toy dormouse.
h/t: Matthew Cobb via Christina Purcell