Natural England - Edible dormice

Edible dormice

Advice, licensing and legislation relating to the edible dormouse.

Edible dormouse
Edible dormouse (Glis glis) © link

Legal protection

The edible or fat dormouse (Glis glis), was introduced to this country from continental Europe in 1902 to a wildlife collection at Tring, Hertfordshire. Escapes led to the establishment of a population in the wild. Currently they are mainly confined to the Chilterns within 25 miles from Tring but are slowly expanding in range. The population is estimated as 10-50,000 animals.

They can cause serious damage, particularly to growing timber by stripping the bark from trees and to property by gnawing electric cable in roof spaces etc.

The edible dormouse is protected under Section 11(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in that certain methods of killing or taking are prohibited except under licence. Occupiers of land may however, kill or take edible dormice by any non-prohibited method, such as shooting, without needing a licence. In addition, cage traps or approved spring traps, which would otherwise be prohibited, may be used to kill or take edible dormouse under Class Licence WML-CL02: (160kb)pdf document where the activities are carried out for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety or for the purpose of preventing serious damage to crops, fruit, foodstuffs for livestock and growing timber. Users must comply with the terms and conditions of any licence.

If an edible dormouse problem cannot be resolved without resorting to a prohibited method or by trapping under the general licence, a specific licence may be issued to permit use of such a method.

Please note that it is an offence under Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release or allow the escape of edible dormice into the wild without a licence.

Advice and leaflets

There are currently no Natural England leaflets for this species, but you may find the information on the Forestry Commission website useful.

Specific licensing guidance is included below in 'Licences and how to apply' next to the relevant application form

Licences and how to apply

See our licences page for summary information on: Who needs a licence, what types there are and how long they take to obtain. Licences and advice are provided free of charge (some exceptions).

For individual licences please complete the relevant form below and return to Customer Services Wildlife Licensing.

Class licence

DescriptionWho can use this?How to register
WML-CL02: (160kb)pdf document for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety or for the purpose of preventing serious damage to crops, fruit, foodstuffs for livestock and growing timber.Any person who has registered may use this licenceTo use this licence, you need to notify Customer Services Wildlife Licensing Service in writing.

Individual Licences

WML-A05: (421kb)pdf document to use prohibited methods that relate to damage or public health and safety.Please ensure Class Licence WML-CL02 (above) is not applicable before applying for an individual licence.Form provided with licence
WML-A30: (431kb)pdf document in relation to science, education or conservation.Guidance on references for applicants: (47kb)pdf documentForm provided with licence
WML-A03: (443kb)pdf document release of non-native species and those listed under Schedule 9.Form provided with licence

Enforcement and inspection

Please see our main enforcement and inspection page for more information.

Contact us

Please contact Customer Services Wildlife Licensing for further information and guidance.