Will This Childhood Classic Mouse Be the Next to Go Extinct?

There’s a small, shy and nocturnal mouse in Britain that’s in big trouble. The dormouse was made popular by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland;” You might remember the dormouse as a guest in the The Hatter’s mad-tea party who can’t stay awake. But in real life, if humans don’t wake up to the plight of dormice, then we might lose them forever. That’s why the Sussex Wildlife Trust in Henfield is issuing an urgent appeal to save the local dormice from extinction.

Causes for Concern

Even though the IUCN Red List classifies the species as Least Concern, the British dormouse population has drastically dropped over “the past hundred years and they are now vulnerable to extinction,” reports the West Sussex County Times.

The IUCN Red List recognizes that even though the mouse is widespread across Europe and Asia Minor, there’s a “cause for concern” in parts of the mouse’s range, more specifically: the U.K., Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Denmark.

Habitat loss and fragmentation are driving the mouse’s decline, even though they were popular in the pet trade until most countries made it illegal to keep them as pets. In the wild, the dormouse thrives in woodlands and other heavily wooded areas. But forestry, urbanization and agriculture are destroying and fragmenting ideal dormouse habitat, according to the IUCN Red List.

The Fight to Save the Dormouse

But there’s one group still fighting to keep the dormouse in Britain. The Sussex Wildlife Trust is in the process of collecting funds “to improve woodlands on their nature reserves providing ideal habitat for them to breed and thrive,” reports the West Sussex County Times.

The group wants to make the reserves more dormouse-friendly by providing food sources, nesting material and protection from predators. Apart from helping the current dormouse population through helpful habitat, the group also hopes to help future mouse populations by collecting data to prevent the dormouse ever coming this close to extinction again.

Feeling the Heat of Extinction

Apart from habitat loss and fragmentation, the dormouse also has to deal with the stress of climate change. In 2008, The Telegraph reported climate change pressure was forcing the dormouse to scavenge for food left for birds. More unusual still, the nocturnal and shy mouse was scavenging in broad daylight. The mice were also foraging for food when they should’ve been hibernating — a clear sign that something was wrong.

Fast-forward to 2016, man-made climate change has officially claimed its first mammal victim: the mosaic-tailed rat. Rising sea levels destroyed the rat’s island home and drowned many rats in the process. Extinction is real, and it’s happening now.

Take Action!

Sign and share this petition urging British leaders to wake up to the real threats that dormice face. The dormouse is a cherished childhood character, please don’t let this shy mouse only exist in the magical world of make-believe.

Photo Credit: Ettore Balocchi

189 comments

John B
John B10 months ago

Thanks for sharing the info.

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Tin Ling L
Tin Ling L11 months ago

ty

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Monica P.
Monica Pabout a year ago

So sad... Please save them.

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powersabout a year ago

Let's hope these adorable little mice get the protection they need.

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Dorothy P.
Dorothy Pabout a year ago

Yes, these creatures are part of the Redwall series and a delicacy for the foxes.

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Angela K.
Angela Kabout a year ago

petition signed & shared

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John W.
John Wabout a year ago

I hope they don't go extinct

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federico bortoletto
federico babout a year ago

Grazie della condivisione.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Leonard P.
Leonard Pabout a year ago

Jennifer H., unless we ''Animal lovers'' don't start taking matters into our own hands, it could be another loss.

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