Hazel dormouse

Muscardinus avellanarius

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From a zoological perspective, the hazel dormouse is not strictly a mouse but rather the smallest species of the European family Gliridae and closely related to the European edible dormouse and the forest dormouse. People are rarely able to directly observe a hazel dormouse. They avoid open areas and woodland floors, preferring to climb trees or hide in copses. Additionally, hazel dormice go into a 6-month-long hibernation. One can confirm its presence in an area by searching for its traces. They weave sturdy, spherical nests out of blades of grass and leaves in between branches and in thick bushes. Hazel dormice leave distinctive traces behind when they eat. If an empty hazelnut shell in autumn reveals a hole followed by teeth marks around its edge this is a sign that there are hazel dormice present. They bore a small hole in the surface and enlarge this along its edge in order to get at the nut.

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