Dormouse belongs to the large family Gliridae, which has 3 subfamilies and 34 living species. In general, dormouse is a small woodland rodent that is extensively found in Europe, along with some parts of Asia and Africa. Its distinguishing feature consists of soft, orange-brown fur and a long tail of similar color. The mammal is entirely nocturnal and this makes it difficult for many people to see it in activity. Dormouse is a selective feeder, with hazelnut being its favorite food. Hazelnut is also an important source of food for the animal, as it helps reserve the fat that is required for hibernation in winters. Today, it is one of the endangered species, due to habitat loss and competition with grey squirrels for food. Read on to know all interesting and amazing information about the cute mammal called dormouse.
Facts About Dormouse
Family: Gliridae (also known as Myoxidae and Muscardinidae)
Subfamily: Graphiurinae, Leithiinae and Glirinae
Genus: Graphiurinae (Graphiurus), Leithiinae (Chaetocauda, Dryomys, Eliomys, Hypnomys, Muscardinus, Myomimus and Selevinia) & Glirinae (Glirulus and Glis)
Species: 34 living species
Height: 6 and 19 cm (2.4 and 7.5 in)
Weight: 15 and 200 g (0.53 and 7.1 oz)
Life Span: Upto 5 years.
Diet: Omnivorous, feeds on flowers, fruit, nuts and insects, depending on their availability at various times of year.
Range: Europe, Africa, central and western Asia, and Japan.
Habitat: deciduous forests, woodlands, grasslands, gardens, parks, rocky areas, or scrub areas
Age of Sexual Maturity: one year
Gestation Period: 22 to 28 days
Number of Offspring: 2 to 8
Interesting & Amazing Information On Dormouse
- Dormouse is well acclimatized to climbing and is largely an arboreal animal, where it searches for food in its active time.
- It is a lively, yet shy animal and is kept as a pet by many people in Europe. With regular interaction by its owners, it becomes hand tamed and usually climbs on them.
- Dormouse is used as food source by humans, as it stores food in its body, in the form of fat. It is either eaten as a tasty appetizer or as a dessert dipped in poppy seeds and honey.
- The animal hibernates in winter and the hibernation period can last for more than three quarters of the year, if the weather is cold and bad.
- During hibernation, the body functions of a dormouse slow down (heart rate and body temperature is lowered) and it takes a lot of time to move itself.
- The mammal has a habit of sleeping for long hours and its popular name is thought to have been derived from the French word 'dormir', meaning 'to sleep'.
- Its long hibernation period has led people to call it by names like dory mouse, dozing mouse, sleeper, and sleep mouse.
- A young dormouse is born after a gestation period of 22 to 28 days and is hairless, with its eyes closed. The eyes are opened after 18 days of birth and it become active after 10 weeks.
- Dormouse lives in nests that are built of grass and interwoven with honey suckle, either a few feet above the ground in brambles or in the forest canopy.
- The mammal prefers to stay in small family groups, with the number depending on the availability of food.