The Edible Dormouse, also known by its scientific name Glis glis, was introduced to England in 1902 by Lord Walter Rothschild. He released an unknown number of them near his home at Tring in the Chilterns, obtained from an unknown source in Central Europe. They cause damage to plantation forestry and nesting birds. They are also a significant nuisance in people’s houses, with dozens sometimes living in the same house. They gnaw stored fruit, defecate in the laundry cupboard (after feeding on blackberries!) and even nibble at lead pipes or trigger burglar alarms. Over the past 120 years they have multiplied and spread, partly aided by householders catching the animals and releasing them far away. This is illegal, but so is killing them, so what can they do? Edible Dormice are a protected pest! They have now been found in places ranging from Hampshire to Essex The talk will review these issues and report on Europe’s longest population study of these animals which has revealed some important and unique features of this animal’s ecology. It’s a species that few have heard of, but those who have wish they would go away. There is now every prospect of them becoming widespread- maybe even where you live!
Dr Pat Morris was Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, and retired (early) in 2002 to spend more time with his taxidermy. He taught many students who now work in wildlife conservation, and also taught evening classes for adults for 20 years. He is well known for his studies on mammals, especially hedgehogs, dormice, water voles and red squirrels. He is a past Chairman of the Mammal Society and holder of its Silver Medal. He was a Council Member of the National Trust for 15 years and Chairman of its Nature Conservation Advisory Panel. He is President of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, a former Vice President of the London Wildlife Trust. He served on a Government Enquiry into aspects of the badgers and TB problem and for 3 years was co-Director of the International Summer School on the Breeding and Conservation of Endangered species, based at Durrell Zoo in Jersey.
He has published over 70 scientific papers, mostly on mammals and written about 20 books on bats, dormice, ecology of lakes and general natural history, with total sales of around 250,000. His popular book on hedgehogs has remained in print since 1983, his New Naturalist monograph on the hedgehog was published in 2018. He was a consultant to major publishers and the BBC Natural History Unit, for whom he also contributed radio and TV programmes for 20 years. He has travelled to more than 30 countries, including five expeditions to Ethiopia and 19 visits to the USA covering 47 of the States.
In his spare time he has pursued a longstanding interest in the history of taxidermy and was appointed the first Honorary Life Member of the Guild of Taxidermists. He published papers and 8 books on this topic and serves as one of the Government’s taxidermy inspectors for assessing age and authenticity of antique taxidermy in connection with CITES controls. The Society for the History of Natural History awarded him its Founder’s Medal and he was made MBE by the Queen in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List and has a devoted (biologist) wife, married in 1978.
He speaks in a purely personal capacity and not on behalf of any of the organisations with which he is involved, past or present.
don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day