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Hazel dormouse nest boxes

Wooden nest boxes, like bird boxes with the entrance hole facing the tree, are used by dormice and are a means of detecting the animals in the absence of gnawed hazel nuts. The boxes are central to the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme. They may also enhance an area for dormice by increasing the number of nesting sites and boosting the local dormouse density.

Nest boxes can remain empty for several years. Often the first signs are nests rather than the animals themselves. An effective monitoring site requires fifty or more boxes put up on trees in a grid, spaced about 20m apart.

Boxes set up in a grid can give a reasonable indication of dormouse population density. Boxes set up in a line along the edge of a wood or other places where habitat may be good for dormice, may achieve a high occupancy rates, but be unreliable on population density.

Dormice recorded in nest boxes are only a sample of the population. Some PIT tagging studies suggest that the actual population is at least double that recorded in boxes.

We support our monitoring sites with a dormouse box scheme. The boxes are made out of red cedar, Douglas fir or larch, due to their excellent durability outside, and the wood is locally sourced in North Yorkshire from professionally managed woods where the trees are felled under an approved Forestry Commission felling licence. Planks are supplied to HMP Humber and the inmates make the boxes. We ask sites that are able to pay for dormouse boxes to contribute at least the cost price of each box so we can support sites with no access to funding. Since 2010 we’ve supplied nearly 20,000 dormouse boxes to over 300 sites.

You can also construct your own dormouse boxes to the PTES design specification.

Please note inspecting nest boxes requires a licence from Natural England or Natural Resources Wales in areas where dormice are either already known to be present or if their presence is likely. If boxes or tubes are put out speculatively to detect presence, this in itself does not require a licence, but a licence is essential once the first dormouse, or evidence of dormice, has been found.


Buy Premium Dormouse Nest Boxes

Aimed at ecological consultants undertaking dormouse monitoring and mitigation work we are now able to offer the NEW PTES Premium Dormouse Nest Box. The box cost is £12.50 inclusive. There is a minimum order of 15 boxes. Please contact Ian White at ian.white@ptes.org.

By purchasing PTES Premium Dormouse Nest Boxes, you will be supporting the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme and UK Dormouse Conservation.

We have been working to save hazel dormice in the UK for over 20 years. Find out about our campaigns and how you can help:


Go back to Hazel dormouse conservation

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