Curled into a plump ball, adorable dormouse Dozey has finally curled up and gone into hibernation after being fattened up by rescuers.
Staff at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre in Somerset had feared that Dozey might die if he didn't gain enough weight in time to hibernate - but he has proved that he is a survivor. Scroll down for more...
Dozey has finally curled up and gone into hibernation after being fattened up by rescuers
In November the tiny rodent was photographed living in a coconut shell, and being fed a diet of crushed nuts, ivy pollen and blackberries in a desperate bid to fatten him up.
Dormice treble their weight in the autumn so they can survive the long winter, but late-born babies like Dozey sometimes have difficulty gaining enough weight in time - and can die.
Dozey was brought to the sanctuary in the autumn after a member of the public found him in her greenhouse. The tiny mouse had puncture marks on his body, which staff at the centre think may have been inflicted by a cat.
Sanctuary founder Pauline Kinder said: "When he came to us, he was very tiny and he wasn't going to get to the size he needed to be to hibernate." Scroll down for more...
Rescue centre staff feared Dozey might die if he didn't gain enough weight in time to hibernate
However, survivor Dozey ate his way to hibernation and is now in a special cold room at the sanctuary where he can sleep undisturbed. Dormice are the only species of mice to hibernate. They roll themselves up into a ball of moss underground and let their body temperature drop to that of their surroundings. Their heart and breathing rate are often reduced by more than 90 per cent. Dozey is due to wake up around April.
Dozey the orphan dormouse finally hibernates after being fattened up by rescue staff | the Daily Mail