Evidence from the only woodland study in the U.K. of the non-native edible dormouse shows (using nest boxes inspected monthly), that whilst some or much breeding occurs in most years, non-breeding years also occur. This is understood to relate to the number of tree species flowering in spring and the amount of flower production. Morris & Morris (2010) used a small sample to show that some adult animals do not appear in the nest box inspection records during the non-breeding years, but are present during the next breeding year. We have subsequently refined and increased the database, collating information on a sample of 222 glis (136 female, 86 male) known to be alive for between 5 and 13 years during a continuous study period of 18 years. The number of old animals (living to at least five years) recorded in nest boxes is significantly different between years of breeding and non-breeding with up to 90 % absent. There is no evidence that they move elsewhere in the isolated wood. Both males and females displayed this trait. The paper discusses alternative explanatory options interpreted from this. The applied science impact is that if 18 month hibernation is proven the time and cost implications for population control planning are severe. Future research is aimed at demonstrating the reality.
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Vol. 64 • No. 4