Loire-Atlantique: but where did this lero, the Zorro masked mammal that disappears in Brittany, come from?

Laurent Luis
Laurent Luis takes care of dormouse mice until the end of their hibernation… which is approaching, given the energy of a mammal, on Tuesday, March 8 © L’Echo de la presqu’île

“I’ve never heard of it. I know mice, dormouse … But not garden dormouse”

Laurent Louis.

This man has just moved with his wife to Saint-Roch in Ponchateau.

The couple love animals, they have two dogs and a cat, and so they have been working with this animal for a week next to a dormice mouse found in a moving box.

“He was in hibernation”

As he cleans up his garage, he looks at the bottom of his drawer, intrigued by the gnawed plastic sheet.

“And then I saw him. I thought he was dead. But no. When touched, his paw moved. He went into hibernation. I put him in a birdcage with a blanket and cotton, which he quickly threw away.”

Laurent Louis.

His daughter looks on the Internet and finds information about the little owner: this is Lerot, who can be recognized by the mask of Zorro. The family then contacted the Breton Mammal Group, an existing branch in the Loire-Atlantique.

Sonya, object of study

The provided care is confirmed. Then an employee of the association comes to the “beast”.

Because what Laurent Luis doesn’t know is that the dormouse is one of the species targeted by the research carried out under the Nature Contract “Threatening Mammals with Knowledge Problems in Brittany” with among others the departments of the Loire – Atlantic and those Brittany.

So Nicolas Chenaval went to Ponchateau to take a few hairs from garden dormouse for genetic analysis.

Video: now on Actu

“Most of the time I work with animals that are awake or dead. This is the first time I took from a sleeping dormouse. »

Nicolas Chenaval, member of the Loire-Atlantique branch of the Breton group of mammals.

Almost gone in Brittany

The results should make it possible to know which genetic population it belongs to, because the species is widely distributed throughout France, but with more or less dense populations depending on the region.

“It is listed as a Breton mammal on the red list. We hardly find any more. In the Loire-Atlantique, things are different. It is present in 3/4 of the division east of the line from Savenay to Redon. We do not have data for the Guérande Peninsula.”

Nicholas Chenaval.

The Ponchateau dormouse is said to be the southernmost crop. Analyzes will be able to point out his genetic features here in Brittany and the Loire-Atlantique.

As for the explanation for the decline in the population, hypotheses are put forward: climate, loss of habitat with the disappearance of groves and predators such as cats.

Lero from South Loire?

Without prejudging the results, Laurent Luis offers a clue to the origin of “his” lero:

“I called our friends from Pornic who saved our boxes from before we moved. And they told us that they have several near their house…”

Leroth, recognizable by his black-rimmed eyes
The garden dormouse, recognizable by its black-rimmed eyes © L’Echo de la presqu’île

Towards the end of hibernation, dormouse arrives, in which phases of lethargy alternate with more active moments.

Then he could return to his southern lands. Free.

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