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Rodent reprise - Grin with cat attached
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Rodent reprise Aug. 21st, 2005 09:15 pm
First, many thanks to djm4 for identifying this critter as a Garden Dormouse, Eliomys Quercinus or Lérot, depending on preferred language. For anyone interested in this rather attractive animal, there's some info in english here and rather more in french (with some great pictures) here.
The dormouse had been heard skittering around in the roofspace of my parent's place near Agen in southern France (an old farmhouse, I believe) the day before he was spotted in the garage - apparently he got spooked at being watched clambering around the wall and fell off from a fair height, stunning himself and allowing him to be briefly captured. As no-one could figure out whether it was an escaped pet or a local wild animal (the family's wildlife books available out there only covered creatures whose ranges covered the UK), it was put in a box with some grass, muesli, fruit and raisins - which it apparently loved, quickly making a nest from the straw and devouring the fruit, although it was rather bemused to be offered a grashopper. After the neighbours had also failed to indentify it, it was released, which it apparently didn't think such a great idea - it ran back into the box, obviously having enjoyed the room service. They finally dropped it off down the other end of the (huge) garden, so I assume that it's now happily back in the wild.

From: serena_lesley
Date: August 21st, 2005 - 08:48 pm (Link)
Mice will find their way back to the house that they were previously comfortable in from a couple of miles away, and since this critter was quite a bit bigger than a mouse, he may well find his way back. Hopefully it's a truely huge garden. :)