Mammal Identification

Common Dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius

Identification features

Photo: Dave Mallon
  • Small sized mammal
  • Pointed muzzle
  • Large black eyes
  • Very long whiskers
  • Large ears
  • Fur is a orange-brown on the back and a pale buff colour on the underside
  • Tail is tick and furry and the same length as the body and head combined.

The nocturnal Dormouse lives in woodlands rich in hazel and honeysuckle and is rarely seen. Last recorded in Derbyshire in 1902 they were reintroduced into two sites in Derbyshire as part of the UK Species Reintroduction programme. The Derbyshire Mammal Group monitor the reintroduction sites by recording their presence and use of nest boxes as well as feeding reamins.

Other identification clues:


Summer dormouse nests are made from woven honeysuckle and hazel leaves. There is no obvious opening hole. Nests are about the size of a grapefruit.

Feeding remains

Photo: jo BissellDormice have a distinctive way of eating hazel nuts. They make a circular hole which often passes through the nut scar.

The hole inner edge is smooth with circular marks. There are gnaw marks on the outer edge of the hole.

Link to Dormouse project

Distribution in Derbyshire information