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Digest 08 April 2001 - Vol. 2, No. 2

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Compliled and Edited by Werner Haberl
Number of recipients: > 130

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1) Dormouse Hibernation in Captivity? (K. Hecker)

Dear Dormousers,

I'm Kristof Hecker, student of Mr. Botond Baku. I have a question to you, I hope, you can give me an answer. We try to observe the activity of the edible dormouse, first of all in capture. I caught some young individuals in a near wildpark, where they have eaten the maize reserves.

First we put them into a big cage. We had big cold in November, they went all into one hollow, we thought, they began the hibernation. I took them home, because I have unheated room, where they can stay. But this winter is very warm in Hungary, we had 17ÉC this week, and only short time we had real winter. They don't want to continue the hibernation.

I gave them food all the time, they have eaten very orderly. Then I let them starve for a while in the hope, that they will sleep. They came out every evening and searched for food. After a week I couldn't wait any more. They jumped almost onto the food. I gave them oak acorn, nuts, hazelnuts and apple. I tried succesfully paprika, carrots, cheese sometime.

These young dormice don't seem to grow much. And they don't seem very fat to be able to survive a hibernation. So my question is, how is it possible to get the dormice to hibernate. Is it the feeding, is it the temperature or what? Do they grow in the winter, or only in the vegetation period?

Thank You for Your attention!
Yours sincerelly,
Kristof Hecker

2) Traps for Dryomys? (E. Carturan)

We are two italian research-workers. We deal with micromammals in an alpine zone in Trento. We would like to ask if someone of you could recommend us a model of live trap for Dryomys nitedula. Do you think that Grahnab Ugglan Special Mouse Trap Model 2 would be suitable? We thank you in advance,

Dott.Aimi Andrea
Dott.Elisa Carturan

3) Looking for contacts... (L. Kozak)

I am Lajos Kozak from Hungary. Actually I am not able to reach the Dormouse Hollow Website (I do not know why) and in the last few months I have not received any letter of Dormouse Talk (I am not sure there were any).

I decided to write to you, perhaps you can help me. I am looking forward for any projects /researchers interested in population genetics of dormice, first of all of common dormice. I would be very grateful to you for any information, e-mail addresses of contact persons, etc. in this topic.

Sincerely yours,
Lajos Kozak
Assistant Lecturer
Debrecen University
Department of Nature Conservation, Zoology and Wildlife

4) Looking for Marking Methods of Juveniles (M. Scinski)
From: Michal Scinski Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 22:15:45 +0200

Dear Dormousers,
In May I'm starting research on the edible dormouse and I need information on marking methods. I'm going to use ear-tattooing for adults, but I don't know what's the best method for marking juveniles or pups (I'd like to avoid toe-clipping). It's possibly long term research, therefore the long lasting marking is preferred. I'd be grateful if you could give any details on e.g. ear-tags (size, company) or other method. I would also appreciate any suggestions on bait. I'm hesitating between peanut butter and strawberry jam.

Thank you in advance
Michal Scinski
Department of Behavioural
and Evolutionary Ecology
Institute of Ecology PAS
Dziekanow Lesny


1) Hibernacula - Gliraria? (D. Andrews)

Dear Sir or Madame - could you make any comment on the attached discussion please. Thanks....Dave Andrews

-----Original Message-----
From: Victoria Harrison
Subject: RE: Hibernacula - Tring - Squirrels

Dear Dave, Thank you for your email.
The animal you are referring to is the edible (or 'fat') dormouse. The name 'edible' stems from the fact that this creature has been a frequent item on the menu of many countries of Southern Europe and was specially raised for the table in Roman times. Th name 'fat' derives from the fact that prior to the winter months, when the dormice go into hibernation, they will feed extensively and store up very large amounts of fat to tide them over the winter.

The Romans kept edible dormice in large earthenware pots called 'dolia', where they could be fattened up for the table. The pots would have been stored in special dormouse gardens; both the pots and the gardens have been referred to as "Gliraria".

There is, however, no evidence that this practice occurred in Britain - the modern-day population of edible dormice in and around Tring in Hertfordshire stems from the release of several individuals into Tring Park in the very early 1900's.

If you would like some further information about this mammal and other dormice around Europe, please visit the website

Please contact me again if you have any further questions.
Best wishes

Victoria Harrison
Administration Officer
The Mammal Society
15 Cloisters House
8 Battersea Park Road
020 7498 4358

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Andrews
Subject: Hibernacula - Tring - Squirrels

Dear Sirs,

Can you confirm that the Romans used to keep hibernating squirrels (Dormice?) in Hibernacula, and when they felt like a nice squirrel stew, out they came.
I have been told they specifically imported Roman larger squirrels (Dormice?), for this purpose, and for example around the town of Tring, UK, which had a Roman settlement, the squirrels (Dormice?) are or were larger, due to their Roman descent?

Dave Andrews

2) Dormouse-Like Animal in America? (J. Hendrikx)

I am a biologist from Holland, working in New York doing research on hematopoietic stem cells. I was talking to a colleague who told me she had seen a small nocturnal animal with a furry tail eating from apples she had laid out in her yard to feed bird, squirrels and other animals. She lives in New Jersey. She asked me what the animal could have been. Her description made me think of a dormouse like animal, but according to the information in the hollow they are not seen in the Americas. Could you tell me which animal she may have been seeing?

Kind regards,
Jan Hendrikx, PhD
New York Blood Center
Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology
310 East 67th Street
New York 10021 NY

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