Glis glis or edible dormouse.
The edible or fat dormouse was introduced to Europe by the Romans and is locally a major problem because of a number of dormice which escaped from Lionel Walter Rothschild’s private collection near Tring in about 1902, since then they have spread across the Chilterns and as far as Essex and Bedfordshire. There is now thought to be some 30,000 free roaming around the area. Actually they are not mice at all but they are rodents.
These rather cute little greyish brown creatures are 14 to 19 centimetres (5.5 to 7.5 in) in head-body length, plus a fluffy 11 to 13 centimetres (4.3 to 5.1 in) long tail. They are very good climbers and although they prefer woods and forests will happily make their way into, shed, outhouses and lofts. They are nocturnal (night dwellers) and scamper about and chew anything they can including wiring, water pipes, timber and any other roof contents they fancy. They have a very varied diet and will eat seeds, fruit, tree bark and various other things. They defecate freely and will leave a trail of droppings everywhere. They bred been June and August having 4 to 6 young normally but can have up to eleven young who will leave the nest after just 30 days. They have a long hibernation from October to May.
The first thing to remember is to keep them out, much like mice and rats. Make sure your home is free of large holes in the roof tiles, soffits, and brickwork. If they can’t get into your house they will find another house that they can. If you have holes fill them with wire mesh, or replace or re-point brickwork areas where they might enter.
If you think you have them, do not ignore the problem. You can do a test yourself; leave half an apple in the roof space. Dormice adore apples and will not be able to resist them, they will chew at the apple and give themselves away. Once you know you have them call for advice or a survey visit. Make sure the pest control company you deal with are aware of the law trapping and killing dormice must be done within the current legislation and they need a class licence to trap or kill dormice.
Andy - First Choice Pest Control Ltd