Catherine Hadler, a volunteer for the Hampshire Dormouse Group said on Facebook, “The dormouse has entered the birdfeeder and eaten so much food that it was too chubby to get out. This made my week. What a chunk. Look at him! Safe to say he will survive hibernation. I messaged back how and where to release it and they successfully sent him rolling on his way!”
She had provided advice to the owner of the home on the Isle of Wight as to how to deal with the unusual problem. It makes for a very cute photograph which, unsurprisingly, has gone viral on the Internet. The mouse just settled in once he realised he’d become too fat and I guess hoped that he would be released.
He did well to actually get into the feeder and must have been starving hungry which led him to overfeed. Well, he didn’t overfeed from his standpoint in terms of getting nutrition but overfed in terms of being able to get out of the feeder!
He was getting himself ready for hibernation. The BBC reports that the resident was advised to ease him out and then release him into a hedgerow. Apparently, the Isle of Wight (on the south coast of England for international readers) is a happy habitat for dormice because there are lots of hedgerows and less than the normal number of grey squirrels who compete for food. It’s believed that the mouse got into the feeder overnight and was then spotted by the homeowner last Tuesday afternoon.
The homeowner said that birds had continued to use the feeder with the dormouse inside. Dormice can double their weight before hibernation. The Hampshire Dormouse Group said that their record weight for a dormouse is 40 g (1.4 ounces) which is double the usual weight.