Category: Mammals
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Llanelli Naturalists Newsletter - September 2007 - No 73
Andrew Stevens

Recently one of our cats brought in a Dormouse Muscardinus avellanus (see cover photo) complete with its nest in which it sensibly remained. I distracted the cat and picked up the beautifully made nest whereupon the dormouse saw a route to safety and moved quite smartly to hide in my hair!  Having failed to find anyone to give advice on where and how to best return it to the wild, I placed it in a covered empty aquarium for the night with some raisins and apple.

To my horror it had escaped next morning after partially dismantling its old nest and starting to rebuild in another corner of the aquarium. We searched the house and eventually found it asleep under a duster in the kitchen. We housed it securely until the evening when I eased it into the original nest and placed it in a bramble thicket adjacent to a hedge and woodland on the farm.

Cats are diligent in bringing all victims to the door before selectively eating them so are convenient, although destructive and not truly representative, samplers of local wildlife. Besides the usual voles, shrews and small birds there are less frequently rabbits, wood pigeon, weasels, moles, common lizards and slow worms. However, notable trophies have included Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Water Shrew Neomys fodiens biclor and Water Rail Rallus aquaticus, while the prize was a long tailed wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus which we had previously trapped and removed prior to its disposal.  However, the cat brought it round from the kitchen door to the front door and proudly presented it, still in the trap!