The Dormouse Hunting Museum, Snežnik

Dormouse Hunting Museum

The fact that a Dormouse Hunting Museum exists at all is reason enough to buy a plane ticket to Slovenia. The collection covers the myth and culture of the Dormouse in Slovenian national identity, as well as practical examples and diagrams showing trapping methods. The Dormouse was hunted for its pelts, which were used in dandies' hats, but the meat wasn't wasted, and the fat is apparently semi-liquid. The displays are well-laid out vitrines, given a backdrop of leaves and logs, and enlarged engravings of dormouse lore, including an image of the devil seemingly herding the dormouse, to some end.

The Museum is in the grounds of Snežnik Castle, fairly hidden from view. It's a two room affair, opening with a selection of taxidermied local animals. I was relying on my memory of spotters' books, rather than my knowledge of Slovene to identify them, but there were some obvious animals in the tattered collection: wolves, bears, stoats.

The castle itself is surrounded by a moat and locked for all but two months of the year (as we found from the keeper of the tourist information centre, in broken pidgin German: 'Die Schloss ist geoffnet?' 'Nein.' 'Heute?' 'Nein, Juni und Juli'. Within the centre in a cage scattered with half-eaten apples, were two live dormice, small, fluffy-tailed and alien-looking).

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