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Pictures: Dormice get microchipped in special survey

Dormice in the North West of England are being fitted with tiny microchips so that conservationists can keep an eye on these secretive little animals.
Dormice in the North West of England have been fitted with tiny microchips in an annual survey by conservationists. Staff from Chester Zoo and Cheshire Wildlife Trust are halfway through their autumn checks on the secretive little animals.
Hazel dormouse in a hand
Experts have been keeping tabs on the dormice since 2005. With the help of volunteers, they count the animals and do health checks on each one.
Checking a hazel dormouse
When the dormice are collected they are scanned by a chip detector, any of the right size that are found without a chip are then fitted with one. It's completely harmless to the mouse and will stay with them for their whole life.
A dormouse
The team want to use the information to get a better understanding of the dormice. They are considered a threatened species in the UK due to the loss of their woodland habitat.
A dormouse in the hand of Chester Zoo staff
Chester Zoo staff find a dormouse in a special nesting box in Cheshire Woodland. The mouse will be chipped and then set free.
Zoo staff return the dormouse to its nest box
Since the beginning of the project conservationists have microchipped nearly 1,000 animals. The project is the largest of its kind in the UK and has shown that the North West has the largest known population of dormice in the country.
Dormouse nest box