Fun Dormouse Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Jan 05, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read these Dormouse facts to know more about this little creature.

Dormice are omnivorous rodents that belong to the family Gliridae. Even though they resemble a mouse, they are in different families.

There are, in total, 29 species of dormouse, from an edible dormouse, a hazel dormouse, a Japanese dormouse, and a small-eared dormouse. They are found in Asia, Europe, and Africa and are nocturnal mammals known for their long hibernation periods.

Some species of dormouse, like the garden dormouse, are nearly endangered, and their population is decreasing. The edible dormouse comes from a large species of the dormouse that was consumed by the Romans as a delicacy. They can survive in multiple habitats like deserts, savannahs, deciduous forests, and rainforests.

It is a small species that spends almost third of its life hibernating, sleeping, and snoring. Yes, dormouse snoring is an actual phenomenon.

The major threat which can endanger the hazel dormouse species are lack of woodland trees or hedgerows, habitat fragmentation and the struggle for survival through extreme weather conditions. The appearance of the hazel dormouse is that of a rat because it is mouse-tailed, but its dental formula resembles a squirrel.

After reading these interesting facts on what is a dormouse , check out our other articles on elephant shrew and gundi.

Dormouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dormouse?

A dormouse is a rodent that belongs to the family Gliridae. They are arboreal in nature but have excellent climbing skills.

They are omnivorous and prey on insects as well as plant material. Certain species of dormouse are hunted and traded as pets which are causing their population to decline. Clearing of woodland trees by human beings can also be a major threat to them.

What class of animal does a dormouse belong to

A hazel dormouse or common dormouse is a mammal that looks similar to a rodent. The dormouse are tree climbers and prefer to stay on trees than hunt on the ground.

They cannot survive extreme temperatures. They are golden brown and orangish-brown in color and have underdeveloped ears. They are known for their extreme sleeping phases and sleep in their nests.

How many dormice are there in the world?

There are 29 breeds of dormice found in the world in different continents. Some of the species are endangered, while some are of the Least Concern.

Some kinds of dormouse are hunted for consumption by human beings, and the clearing of woodland trees can result in loss of habitat, which can cause the dormouse population to decline. Dormouse can also be hunted by predators like beavers, snakes, owls, eagles, and falcons.

Where does a dormouse live?

The woods, the desert, a farm, a house, tropical rainforest, savanna, wetlands are convenient habitats for the hazel dormouse to live in. They cannot survive in extreme climates. Deciduous forests, hedgerows, and woodland trees also are comfortable places where the dormouse can exist in different types of trees.

What is a dormouse's habitat?

The hazel dormouse is arboreal and climbs trees most of the time, finding food and dodging predators. Environments with thick bushes or shrubs are perfect for their endurance. They are not terrestrial and only come to the ground to pick food. Their habitat mostly includes forests, rainforests, and woodland trees where there are ample insects and fruits to eat.

Who do dormice live with?

The mouse tailed dormice species live in small packs with their own family. After they hibernate for the first time, they usually achieve sexual maturity.

The young open their eyes after 18 days and are easy prey to feed on. For copulation, the females will mate with only one partner while the male dormice will seek multiple partners. Dormice breed two times annually and give birth to a litter of one to five youngsters.

How long does a dormouse live?

Dormice species can live in their habitat for a maximum of five years. They can be hunted down by terrestrial mammals like beavers.

The edible dormouse can live for 12 years in the wild as they do not focus on breeding but survival. Most of the dormice species are killed by predators and can die of natural disasters or due to habitat loss.

How do they reproduce?

As the dormice species become sexually mature, they choose their mates by squeaking and indulging in a courtship dance before copulation. The edible dormouse reproduces when there is a lot of food to consume.

Dormice species produce only a single litter per year, while some of the dormices belonging to this breed might not even reproduce. The gestation period in dormouse can last for 24-30 days, depending on the type.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of dormice species is of the least concern. Some species of the dormouse are endangered, and their population is continuously decreasing due to various reasons.

There are 29 species of dormouse that can be found in different locations and seven extinct species. The edible dormouse is hunted for consumption while other species considered exotic are traded as pets. Some of dormice have now become an extinct species.

Dormouse Fun Facts

What do dormice look like?

These furry little cute mice can not be ignored due to their innocent looks. Their little orange ears and big eyes are enough to melt anyone’s heart. They are very tiny and need a proper habitat to dwell in as per their requirements.


How cute are they?

Dormice species are cute mammals that look like rodents and have little ears and big eyes. They are furry and are mouse-tailed.

They are golden-brown, hazel or orangish-brown in color and may vary in size according to their species. Dormice also can be good pets if handled correctly and provided with sustainable living conditions, but be aware, they like their sleep.

How do they communicate?

Dormice species communicate in squeaks and chirps while attracting a sexual partner. The males often are very aggressive towards the other males and try to scare them away to save their potential mates. Dormice species also use scent glands to communicate. Social communication is used during the mating period as well as to communicate with the offspring.

How big is a dormouse?

The dormouse is a rodent which is not so big in size. Dormice species animals are as small as 0.02 lb and can weigh up to 0.28 lb, according to their species.

The edible dormouse is the largest of all the species of a dormouse. The smallest dormouse is the Japanese Dormouse which is only 1.5-2.5 in long and weighs 0.08 lb.

How fast can a dormouse run?

Even though the dormice species can have intense hibernation phases, and they are lethargic, they are fast runners and good climbers which often helps them to escape predators even from a young age.

Dormice species animals are agile and can run at a speed of eight miles per hour. They are active and love spending their time climbing trees, in flowers, building nests, burrowing holes, and searching for food.

The dormice species animals store their food before they hibernate and save their energy during winters by sleeping in their holes for months.

How much does a dormouse weigh?

The weight of a dormouse body can change. The dormice species can weigh up to 0.02 lb, while the edible dormouse weighs up to 0.28 lb. The weight of the dormouse body can also change according to its eating habits and the environment where it can best survive.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no particular male and female names for the dormouse species. The males of dormice species are known as male dormouse and females of dormice species are known as female dormouse.

What would you call a baby dormouse?

There is no specific name for a young dormouse. They are only called offspring or youngsters of the dormouse pair.

What do they eat?

The dormouse eat nuts, berries, flowers, insects, worms, fruits, and other plant and animal material, which makes them omnivorous. The dormouse are opportunistic omnivores. They store their food in their burrows and holes for their offspring and during the beginning of the hibernation period.

Are they friendly?

Common dormice are friendly creatures if provided with the correct living conditions. They are not sociable as they live a sedentary lifestyle and do not socialize unless they want to reproduce. These rodents are not so keen on interacting with their owners or with other pet animals and like to be left alone.

Would they make a good pet?

They can be kept as pets by a family but they are not very friendly as they like to spend most of their lives alone, climbing trees and finding food each year. The dormouse pet is a shy mammal and can bite the owner if handled incorrectly, so avoid their tail.

They also have a high mouthing potential and can gnaw on cables and wires early on.

They like living a solitary life and should be provided with a suitable habitat for survival instead of staying with a family. These hazel rodents love hibernation, the winter months and do not make good pets.

Did you know...

The hazel dormice are on the verge of being vulnerable to extinction in the UK, Europe and are protected species. Some of the species of the common dormouse can be as small as the human thumb and are hardly two inches long from early on.

Only the tail of the common dormouse is 80 percent of its body weight and they cannot chew off hard nuts easily. They do not have a Caecum and may not be able to digest heavy plant material.

How did the dormouse get its name?

The word dormouse is derived from the French word dormir which means to sleep. The female dormeuse is derived from the feminine version of dormir known as sleeper. Dormice love hibernation and love sleep, hence their name.

Where do dormice live?

Dormice can be found in multiple locations like Europe, Africa, and Asia. The forest dormouse is found in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and in few parts of central Asia. They are listed as threatened species by the IUCN Red List. The animals of these species may be eaten by wild boar and badgers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including dugong, or snowshoe hare.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our dormouse coloring pages.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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