Thursday, 4 April 2019

#AtoZChallenge: Dormouse

Dora Dormouse dozed. It was late March, still too cold out for comfort, but almost time to awake. She turned over and snuggled in her little nest in the hollow of a tree, tail wrapped around her head, dreaming of nuts and fruits and flowers.

The growling of her stomach woke Dora on the fourth of April, sounding loud in her round ears. Eyes still closed, she ran a paw over her ears, smoothing down her golden fur, and scratched at her cheeks. A slight frown formed on her face. Her cheeks felt too thin. Time indeed to emerge from hibernation and find some good food to eat. Too early for berries, maybe, but she was sure the flowers were out. A good dandelion might be a nice waking up snack. She could smell them. Her nose wiggled as she sniffed the air. Dora’s belly rumbled again and her fluffy tail twitched in amusement as she stretched. Finally, she blinked her black eyes open and looked around.

“Ho, sleepy one! Are you finally awake?” Sally Squirrel shouted from her drey.

Dora tried not to roll her eyes. Squirrels were too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for her taste, but one had to be kind to one’s neighbours, she supposed. “Yes, I’m awake, Sally,” she replied.

“Oh good! My pup visited last night and brought me a great batch of hazelnuts. Do you want some?”

“Where on earth did he find hazelnuts in April?” Dora asked.

A doubtful tone crept into Sally’s voice. “It was a stash he hid in winter, I think.”

Maybe, Dora thought, but most likely it was left out by the humans and she wasn’t quite sure she trusted them. One never knew what humans might do. If they were the nice kind, the nuts would be safe to eat, but if they were the other kind, who knew what was in them?

“You haven’t eaten any, have you?” Dora asked.

There was a scrabbling above and Dora sighed, backing away from her door. Two seconds later, Sally burst in, cheeks and paws full of nuts.  Sally dropped them all over the floor then pushed them into two small little piles.

“Here! I haven’t had any! I thought you might unhibernate soon so I waited until I heard you move.”

“That sounds a little creepy, you know,” Dora remarked mildly. She picked up a nut and inspected it. It looked alright, no obvious signs of tampering, and it smelt alright too, nothing unnatural or strange about it. Her tummy grumbled again.

“Oh come on, Dora, I’m sure it’s safe. Red had some last night before he brought them over and he’s fine,” Sally said as she chomped down on one.

Still, Dora waited three seconds to see if Sally keeled over and died. When nothing bad happened, Dora daintily put the nut to her mouth and nibbled at it. “Thanks Sally.”

“No problem, Dora! That’s what neighbours are for!”

When Sally finally left, leaving a small pile of hazelnuts behind, Dora heaved a sigh of relief. It was still bright out, so she decided to take a nap before heading out in the evening.

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Today's suggestions were:

  • Dormouse, from Barbara Harrison
  • Dolphin or Dugong, from Sharna Steinert.

I used Sharna's suggestion on Tuesday, so I thought I'd use Barbara's this time! I don't really know much about dormice, so here are the sites I looked them up on:

Dormice: Britain's sleepiest, and most charming little creatures
Dormice - not mice at all!
Ten things you didn't know about dormice
Wikipedia
Dormouse – Muscardinus avellanarius

I'm not sure if dormice and squirrels are actually friends, but they stay in the same areas and eat the same kinds of food, so I figured... why not. They could actually be really bitter enemies but who knows!
I'm a city girl and have never actually seen any of these little critters in real life, so if I'm decidedly wrong, let me know in the comments.

Give me more words!

I generally choose the next word the night before or on the day itself, depending on when I'm writing the post. 

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