Endangered dormice living on motorway verges UK
United Kingdom – Endangered dormice have been found living at various sites on land close to motorways and trunk roads in central southern England.
Researchers working for the Highways Agency visited nearly 40 roadside sites around the area, including Hampshire and Dorset, and found dormice living at 15 of these sites. The Highways Agency commissioned the study, which identified a further 200 sites to be investigated.
Dormice are an endangered species, protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and live in overgrown hedgerows and deciduous woodland. Their preferred food includes nuts, flowers, fruits and insects.
It is thought that land alongside motorways and major roads could provide them with an ideal haven.
The sites identified by the Highways Agency were found to have the basic diversity of habitats and food that dormice require. This will, hopefully, mean a safe area to live and breed.
Highways Agency area manager, Angela Koenig, said: "We are delighted that an endangered species like dormice are able to live and breed near major roads which we look after.
"We ask drivers to help the dormouse and other animals, however, by not throwing litter out of their vehicles, as this is harmful to wildlife as well as being unsightly."