Fun Garden Dormouse Facts For Kids

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Jan 12, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Amazing garden dormouse facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

You most probably have heard about the character Mallymkun from the famous children's book, 'Alice in Wonderland'. Mallymkun is a tiny female dormouse. Now, you must be wondering what a dormouse is?

One of the unique-looking dormice is the garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus. It is gray or brown, with a whitish underside and smudged black around its eye until its ears. Garden dormice are nocturnal creatures and native to Europe, Asia, and Europe.

Although the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) has a long tail and round ears, they don't belong to the family Muridae, but instead, belong to the family Gliridae and share a sub-order with beavers and squirrels, like the mice. It comprises 29 species in three subfamilies and nine genera.

The main difference between a dormouse and a rodent is that the dormice are fluffy while the rodents are scaly.

Due to the loss of habitat and global warming, there has been a decrease in their population. From the family bonding behavior to the intuitive climbing abilities, track down the most enthralling facts about this little creature. Also, enhance your knowledge further with muskrat facts and agouti facts.

Garden Dormouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a garden dormouse?

The garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus, is a nocturnal creature. Garden dormice are often found sleeping in trees during the day. At night, they search for food.

The mating season starts from April to June. The females make a squeaking sound indicating that she is ready to mate. Sometimes cannibalism is observed in garden dormice coming out of hibernation. Also, during mating, garden dormice are often found to eat their rivals.

Despite its slow behavior, the dormouse is fast and agile and has an excellent ability to climb up trees and rocks, hunt for food, and escape any predators.

What class of animal does a garden dormouse belong to?

The garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus, belongs to the class Mammalia, family Gliridae, phylum Chordata, and kingdom Animalia.

How many garden dormouse are there in the world?

The conservation status of the garden dormouse Eliomys quercinus is near threatened; however, the exact number is not known. In 2002, in the woods of Limburg, Germany, it traced only nine dormice. However, they were previously common in this area.

Where does a garden dormouse live?

Garden dormice live in woods and gardens. The garden dormouse (E Q , Eliomys quercinus) is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Primarily found in the Bavarian forest and the Ore mountains.

This species is common in southern Europe. It is also found in northern and western Germany and the Netherlands. In western Germany, dormice are found in the Rhine valley.

What is a garden dormouse's habitat?

The garden dormouse's main habitat is the forest. Also, found in the vegetable and fruit growing regions. These dormice species are native to northern and southern Europe. They mainly inhabit the Alps, the Bavarian forest, and the Ore mountains.

The dormouse constructs their nests in trees or a well-protected area in the burrows, rock crevices, abandoned nests, and even on the beehives. It builds its nests with the help of bark, vegetation, moss, and whatever it finds. The males aggressively defend their territories and defend against infiltration by other dormice.

Who do garden dormice live with?

The garden dormice live in packs with their family.

How long does a garden dormouse live?

The life expectancy of the dormouse is five years.

How do they reproduce?

After coming out of hibernation, dormice breed once or twice a year at different intervals. Mating usually takes place in the summer and spring months. It is believed that the mating of the Eliomys quercinus is polygynous, which means that one male will mate with many females, but the female will mate with only one male.

The baby garden dormice are usually born in litters of three to seven, after a period of 23 days of gestation. The young dormice are born naked with their eyes closed. The mothers are known to feed and nurse their babies.

However, the males do not participate in taking care of the babies. Instead, the males will leave the nest shortly after copulation to seek more females to mate with. The young dormice are known to gain maturity before the onset of winter.

It takes three weeks for the young ones to open their eyes. Then, after six weeks, the young dormice reach maturity, but they take about a year to reach sexual maturity.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus, is Near Threatened according to the IUCN.

Garden Dormouse Fun Facts

What do garden dormice look like?

Garden Dormouse

Dormice are gray or brown. Its underside is white, and its nose and feet are pink. The Eliomys quercinus have black eye markings, which extend to their ears. It has large rounded ears, short hair, and a tail like a squirrel with a white tassel at the end.

Its tail is 8 to 14.5 cm (3.1 to 5.7 inches) long.

The Eliomys quercinus have thick fur and big black eyes and an appearance almost like a mouse. However, one exceptional feature that distinguishes it from the mouse is its tail, like the squirrel.

How cute are they?

Garden dormice are cute little creatures. Their body is covered with gray or brown fur with a white underside. They have a long bushy tail like that of a squirrel, but the tail of the species e quercinus Eliomys has a white tassel at the end.

It has big rounded ears and eyes. Their eyes are surrounded by black markings which extend to their ears. Their peculiar-looking features and small size makes them incredibly cute.

How do they communicate?

Garden dormice communicate using vocal sounds like growls, snores, or whistles. They are known to be very noisy. Other means of communication include physical communication between males and females, mothers and their young ones, and social groups. In addition, they use secretary glands to mark their territories.

How big is a garden dormouse?

The garden dormouse, genus-species e quercinus, has a body length of 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 inches).

Thus, the garden dormouse is two times bigger than the hazel dormouse.

How fast can a garden dormouse run?

The Eliomys quercinus can run at a speed of 8mph.

How much does a garden dormouse weigh?

They weigh 2.1 to 4.9 oz (60 to 140 g ).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Females are known as does, and males are known as bucks.

What would you call a baby garden dormouse?

A baby dormouse is known as a pup.

What do they eat?

Garden dormice are omnivorous. They feed on berries, fruits, nuts, beechnuts, acorns, and insects like beetles, grasshoppers, snails, spiders. They also eat baby birds, eggs of small birds, and small rodents. Rather than vegetation, their diet mainly consists of animal protein.

If the garden dormouse is hungry, they can also eat their own kind, such as their rival during a fight. Their diet will vary depending on food availability in their area.

Are they dangerous?

No, garden dormice are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the Eliomys quercinus would make a good pet. However, unfortunately, even though they are cute little creatures, they do make barking sounds when threatened.

Although, the Eliomys quercinus would make a good pet, as they are shy, and it would take time to be comfortable around people.

Did you know...

The Gliridae is one of the oldest existing rodent families. This species has a fossil record that dates back to the Eocene age. They are believed to have been descended in Europe from Paleogene ischyromyids.

They appeared in Africa in the early Miocene period, and more recently in Asia.

The Eliomys quercinus is a host of the intestinal worm known as Acanthocephalan.

What is the Dormouse long sleep called?

The long sleep performed by the Eliomys quercinus is known as hibernation. It is a process in which the dormice goes to sleep for up to seven months. Hibernation is usually performed to conserve energy and keep themselves alive and warm indoors.

Before hibernation, the Eliomys quercinus put on as much weight they can to survive the seven-month-long hibernation period. Another essential feature is that they curl into a ball during hibernation.

When they hibernate, they sleep so deeply that they won't wake up even if you roll them. Thus, even during daily naps or quick intervals to get food, they are difficult to be woken up. As winter approaches, the length of their naps increases, and finally, they reach a dormant stage.

Why is a dormouse called a dormouse?

The dormouse is called dormouse because they sleep a lot. It hibernates or sleeps for six to seven months to survive the cold winter. Before going into hibernation, they stock food in their burrows.

According to history, the name dormouse is believed to have come from the French word 'dormir,' which means to sleep. The second element, mouse, most probably came as they were mistaken for rodents. It is also likely to be derived from the feminine version of 'dormir', which is 'dormeuse.'

During the Middle Ages, when the dormouse needed a name, it is assumed that someone derived it from the Anglo-Norman word 'dormeus,' which means sleepy one. Another assumption, the word has possibly been taken the Latin word 'dormire' or the French word 'dormir,' which also means to sleep.

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 spinner dolphin facts or English cocker spaniel facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable garden dormouse coloring pages.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit Shinde picture

Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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