Non-native hazel dormouse found in Kildare treehouseThursday 22 November 2012 20.37
A hazel dormouse has been found and caught in the wild in Ireland for the first time.
The non-native mammal was discovered by a woman cleaning out a treehouse in Co Kildare.
It is currently being cared for by the Kildare Animal Foundation's Wildlife Unit.
Dormice are small rodents, with body lengths between six and nine centimetres and weighs between 15g and 35g and can spend up to three quarters of their life asleep.
In the UK, where they are found in scattered locations, they are considered an endangered species.
It is not known how the animal arrived in Kildare, although a spokesman for the National Parks and Wildlife Service said an investigation would be carried out to see if there is a breeding population in the area.
As the dormouse is not native to Ireland, it will not be able to be released back into the wild.