With $300,000 price tag, what would the Mad Hatter say?
The British are in the midst of massive budget cuts. Yet a local borough council in Wales has approved almost $300,000 to build three walkways that will allow dormice to safely cross a busy highway, the Church Village Bypass.
Reactions range from outrage (“It’s obscene”) to joy (“Wonderful to do something for the little critters.”)
Officials say that planning permission for the bypass was conditional on the dormouse bridge and other considerations for local wildlife.
Dormice are not the same as regular mice, but they are rodents who are remarkable for their extra-long periods of hibernation – up to six months a year. That’s how the most famous of all dormice – the little guy who shows up at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland– is portrayed as going to sleep all the time. They get their name, dormouse, not because they look like mice, but from the old Anglo-Norman word “dormeus” meaning “sleepy one.”
Dormice live for about five years, are super-cute, and don’t have nearly as many litters as your regular kind of mouse.