Search for Owl Leads to Surprise Dormouse - Observation of the Week, 9/15/19

Our Observation of the Week is this Common Dormouse, seen in Lithuania by @laukinis!

Proving yet again that even if you don’t get a shot of your target species you’ll probably see something great if you’re outside and exploring, bird watcher Kęstutis Jarmalavičius took the above photo after missing a chance at an avian.

“The tracking history of this mouse is pretty unexpected,” he tells me. 

Nearby I saw a squirrel owl (Strix aluco) in a tree. I tried to get closer and take a picture of it, but the bird flew away, unable to take a picture. Suddenly I saw something else watching me from an adjacent tree. That's how this shot was born. The mouse was quite high (about 5 meters). There was a hollow in that tree, perhaps it was coming out of it to look around. I've only seen this species a few times during the day.

Not knowing anything about common dormice, I thought it bizarre that the dormouse Kęstutis observed was up in a tree, but that is actually where these nocturnal rodents spend most of their waking hours. While they often dine on hazelnuts to fatten up before hibernation (hence their other common name, the hazelnut dormouse), dormice eat a variety of arboreal foods, such as flowers, fruit, and insects such as caterpillars. In addition to hibernating through the winter, dormice will also enter a torpor state when the weather is cold or wet. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “dormouse” is “possibly from Anglo-French *dormouse ‘tending to be dormant.’”

Kęstutis (above), is currently working as a forestry specialist whose interest in nature began in childhood - after first catching and identifying butterflies, he later got into birds, which he says is his current major hobby. He joined iNaturalist a few weeks ago. “First impressions are very good,” he says, “[and] I am delighted with this project that unites nature lovers around the world.”

- by Tony Iwane. Some quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and flow.

- Check out more of Kęstutis's great photo archive, which he's been adding to iNat!

- Dormice are pretty cute, here's some nice footage of them eating.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, September 15, 2019 21:06


How cool! Nice shot, @laukinis!

Posted by carrieseltzer about 2 years ago (Flag)

Very Cute!

Posted by suziebee about 2 years ago (Flag)

This is just one of many amazing photos by Kęstutis! Great to have you on the platform, @laukinis!

Posted by tomasp about 2 years ago (Flag)

Thank you!

Posted by laukinis about 2 years ago (Flag)

This cute photo made my day! Thanks @laukinis.

Posted by dhend9 about 2 years ago (Flag)

What a curious rodent.
Fascinating shot, @laukinis

Posted by columbia about 2 years ago (Flag)

What a great shot!!!

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 years ago (Flag)

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