Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens
AG Säugetierkunde in NRW
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The exterior appearance of the Edible Dormouse is reminiscent of a small squirrel with a head-and-body length of up to 16 cm and a bushy tail of another 14 cm. However the Edible Dormouse has a grey dorsal pelage and the belly is white. Juveniles are purely grey, whereas several year-old animals have a slightly yellowish coloured pelage. Edible Dormice are quite vocal. After dark their characteristic calls are easily perceived, especially in May, during the mating period. In August and September the females give birth to 4 — 6 young. In years with poor food availability reproduction can fail extensively even for several subsequent years.
It is striking that many Edible Dormouse occurrences are in parts of the landscape where humans mined or are still mining lime. Lime deposits are usually indicative of extensive subterranean crevice systems. These systems are used by the Edible Dormouse for their hibernation, which lasts seven to eight months. During this time the animals reduce their body temperature to just above freezing and also their heart rate and thus reduce their energy requirements until the next spring. Over the course of the year the weight of Edible Dormice varies between 70 and 160 g, in exceptional cases even up to 230 g, shortly before the onset of hibernation.
As for all species dependent on tree cavities for shelter, there is a shortage of dwelling places in forests with intensive silvicultural utilization. By providing nest boxes the recordable number of individuals can be increased so that it can be assumed that the availability of shelters is a limiting factor for the species.
Part of the north-western distributional limit of the Edible Dormouse runs through NRW; the highland areas are also largely populated. The original habitats of the Edible Dormouse are beech forests or mixed forests with a high proportion of deciduous trees. In these habitats the animals barely attract attention because of their nocturnal activity. Because the animals enter hunting cabins or other building near the forest, there are regular reports from many areas in NRW.
Meinig H (2021): Siebenschläfer (Glis glis).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2021/04/15
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