The Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is the only dormouse native to Britain and the species is in constant decline due to habitat loss and degradation. Commonly associated with deciduous woodland, hedgerows and shrubs, now its distribution is restricted to southern England, Midlands, Wales and Lake District. The dormouse is a nocturnal and hibernating species.


Hazel dormice and their habitat are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations 2010.

It is illegal to capture, injure or kill, disturb any individual, as well as being against the law to damage, destroy  or obstruct the access to a breeding or nesting site.

It is also forbidden to sell or possess dormice.

Types of Survey

Surveying for dormice requires the search for signs of presence of the species (like nests or hazelnuts opened by dormice). This type of survey is undertaken between September and December.

Another method used to assess the presence of a dormouse population in an area is carrying out nest tube and nest box surveys. Nest tubes are displayed before the survey season and checked between April and November.