Friday, 23 October 2009

Join the dormouse nut hunt 6th November 2009

Go nuts this Autumn and keep an eagle eye out for the signs of the rare and elusive Dormouse.

Although they are one of the most attractive members of the rodent family, with their bright golden fur, large dark eyes and a thick furry tail, Dormice are rarely seen.

South Wales and the South West of England appear to be national strongholds for the Dormice, although knowledge of their distribution in Neath Port Talbot is still poor.

Councillor Collin Crowley, chair of the biodiversity forum, said: "Despite them being highly protected under law the loss of the woodland and hedgerows that this rodent relies upon is a real threat especially if Dormice are not known to be present. To ensure we protect Dormice in Neath Port Talbot we need to know where they are!"

Neath Port Talbot Council is asking residents to help track down these special creatures to ensure we can protect them now and into the future.

Councillor Crowley added: "This is not an easy task as they are rather elusive. However, they do leave signs to give their presence away. Like many other small mammals, dormice eat hazelnuts, which they open in their own particular way leaving the shell with very distinctive marks. With a little bit of practice volunteers can learn to identify which nuts have been opened by dormice."

To find out what to look for and to join in the Neath Port Talbot hunt for Dormice, come along to the Dormouse Nut Hunt leaving from the Neath Port Talbot Council offices, The Quays, Brunel Way at 10am, Friday 6th November.

A minibus will be provided for the site visit, returning to The Quays at 4pm. Shoes suitable for walking on uneven ground and waterproof clothing recommended. A packed lunch is also recommended. Your Dormouse expert for the day will be Nigel Ajax-Lewis, of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Make sure you book your place early to avoid disappointment.

A Dormouse Survey information pack, providing volunteers with all the information required to take part, is downloadable from, under 'Getting Involved'. If volunteers are unable to join us, but would like to take part, they can also download the pack. The investigative work can be carried out alone or as part of a group and the Biodiversity Unit would be very interested in your findings.

Places are limited. For further details and to book a place, phone the Biodiversity Unit on 01639 686155 or email no later than Tuesday 2nd November.

Photograph by H. Osadnik. Reproduced under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2


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