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Throughout the time we have had our house in Poitou Charentes we have enjoyed the visits of various small mammals. Fortunately I have only seen a rats on rare occasions and never in the house, though I am sure they could gain accesif they wanted to. Mice have visited but have never been much of a problem.

Our most frequent visitor has been the Fat dormouse called Glis glis in scientific terminology. We had one called Henri Sourris de la Porte who was a regular visitor about 5 years ago but untill recently we have had a barren patch in terms of small furry visitors.

We did have in the early days of our ownership regular visits from Beech Martens and we did once see some Garden dormice, which are not fat and have a go faster stripe along their side.

However recently a Fat dormouse, I would suspect a descendant of Henri’s, has been in the celing space between the Kitchen and an upstairs bedroom. This would not be a great problem but he or she is disturbing lots of accumulated dust and debris and it is dropping down onto a kitchen worktop below. Also it makes occasional forays into the kitchen where it can gain acces to the waste bin and obviously any food left out on the worktop, which we try not to do.

So I have screwed pieces of thick wood to the two acces points, this did not please him and fistly he tried to reopen an acess point near to some pipes. He was not succesful but for several days he managed to push quite large amounts of debris down onto the end of the woork top. Eventually he gave up and simply chewed a new hole through the old wooden boards that form our kitchen ceiling so now he has restored his former right of way. I dont think screwing more bits of wood to the celing will work as he can always make another hole somewhere else. i dont want to trap or poison him so I think we will have to learn to live together. Maybe if he finds food easier to acces in the garden and sourounding he will not venture into the kitchen so often.

You can eat Fat dormice and evidently they still do in parts of Slovenia It is a sort of stew callled Obarra, that is a picture of it to the left, looks quite tasty. Also the Romans used to eat them.

Here is a recipe I found on the internet, sounds fairly straightforward….

Edible Dormice Recipe:

4 dormice
2 potatoes
Bouquet garni
Salt Pepper
Lemon peel
Vinegar (Wine or Balsamic)

Skin and gut the dormice and lay them flat. Gently flour them all over.
Fry the dormice in a little oil until browned.
Scald the potatoes unpeeled in water then peel and quarter them.
Add potatoes to the dormouse pan and toss in the juices and oil.
Transfer to a saucepan and de glaze the pan with water and a little wine if liked. You should have about ¾ pint of liquid.
Pour the liquid over the mice and potatoes.
Add some zested lemon peel and simmer slowly until the potatoes break up and the soup is thick.
Just before serving sprinkle on some wine vinegar

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