Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dormouse and Blackberries

Dormouse and Blackberries - 7" x 5" oil on hardboard/masonite

 Dormice, such as the one in this painting, are famous for being sleepy and their name means 'sleeping mouse'. If the outside temperature remains cold their hibernation may last up to six months or even longer and to accomplish this feat they store body fat during the summer months. These small, agile creatures are most at home in woodland, where they are well adapted to climbing trees. The hazel dormouse is the only one native to the UK and is one of Britain's most endangered mammals. It is a protected species and may not even be handled without a special licence.
Interestingly where I live dormice are particularly abundant and work is carried out in the woodlands to encourage the survival of these sweet little creatures. Last year we were puzzled when out for a walk with the dogs to see a lot of what looked like bird nesting boxes in part of our local woods. We knew though that they couldn't be bird boxes as the woodland was too dense and the boxes too low. We've since discovered that they are nesting boxes for dormice - a joint project between the Surrey Wildlife Trust, the local council and Guildford Golf Club. It's good to see people banding together to help the little dormouse.


This painting is straight off the easel and will need to dry for 1-2 weeks before shipping
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