What you're seeing here is a hibernating dormouse filmed by Dave Williams of the Surrey Wildlife Trust Mammal Project. Despite his log-sawing, this slumbering little guy isn't in any trouble — he's just an unusually stentorian sleeper.

Dormice can hibernate for up to one-third of their lives. They wake up in the springtime (minus one-quarter of their fatty body mass) to mate. In addition to monitoring the sleeping dormouse population, the Surrey Wildlife Trust builds miniature hourly motels for the rodents:

The Surrey Dormouse project started in 2002 and consisted of just a few boxes on one of our reserves to monitor the presence of dormice. From this small beginning we now have over a thousand boxes in over twenty woodlands throughout the county. The number of records has increased enormously and also the protection of these woodlands, by incorporating habitat improvements into existing management plans.

Dormice hibernate during the winter in nests that they make hidden away on the ground. It is only in late spring, when they come out of hibernation and start eating, that they look for places to breed. This is where the nesting boxes become useful for them as dry, quiet places to have their young.


Heartwarming, like Beatrix Potter writing a book about conjugal visits. You can read more about the Surrey Wildlife Trust's mission here.

[Via Boing Boing]