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Effect of rainfall on nocturnal activity of the Japanese dormouse

Kei K. Suzuki*, Motokazu Ando

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The response of small rodents to rainfall is largely species specific. There is a need to widely survey the effects of rainfall among varied rodent species, particularly on arboreal rodents. Therefore, in this study, we examined the changes in the activities of the Japanese dormice (Glirulus japonicus) in relation to rainfall. We undertook extensive camera trapping for 2 years to collect data about dormouse activity. During all 63 instances of detection (i.e. 24 on rainy nights and 39 on nights without rain) using camera set at 214 sites, dormice demonstrated perfect nocturnality. The dormice were active throughout the nights when there was no rain; however, on rainy nights, their activity tended to be limited close to sunset. Our results, thus, provide important evidence that rainfall limits the activity of the Japanese dormouse. In Japan, precipitation has increased with recent climate change. Thus, heightened precipitation in future could increasingly limit the periods of activity of the Japanese dormouse.