The Edible Dormouse: update on an invasive non-native species
In the ten years since last featured in British Wildlife (Morris & Morris 2011), the Edible Dormouse Glis glis has been on the move, expanding within its Chiltern heartland and appearing at scattered new locations across southern England. This article provides the latest findings from continuing monitoring of this charismatic but troublesome non-native and reviews its changing status in Britain.
Edible Dormouse is a relatively recent arrival in Britain, introduced in 1902 by Walter Rothschild, who, with other like-minded people, felt that our mammalian fauna was in need of ‘improving’ (this same mindset also brought us Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis and Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi). Here, the dormouse lives well outside its natural distribution in continental Europe, where it is found from central France south to Spain and Italy and east to Lithuania and European Turkey, although the exact source of the animals introduced into Britain is unknown.