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Rare black dormouse found in Blackdown Hills

The UK’s first ever black dormouse has been discovered in the Blackdown Hills by National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP) volunteers. One of Britain’s most threatened mammals, the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is typically a golden brown colour. In the 1970s, researchers chanced upon a black dormouse in Germany and recently a few more examples were found in the country.

Ian White, our Dormouse Officer, commented: “The National Dormouse Monitoring Programme has been running for more than 25 years, with volunteers collecting data on thousands of dormice at nearly 400 sites. Not once has anyone come across a black dormouse.”

The black dormouse was discovered when Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project staff, trainees and volunteers were checking dormouse boxes supplied by PTES as part of the NDMP. This year, the project provided 300 nest boxes and has involved more than 60 volunteers in installing and regularly checking the boxes.

For more on this story, visit the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project website here.

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