Fun Hazel Dormouse Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Hazel Dormouse Facts For Kids

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The hazel dormouse is a small, native rodent that has long whiskers, large black eyes, and golden brown fur. Its scientific Latin name is Muscardinus avellanarius. The only small British mammal, the hazel dormouse has a furry tail. These animals are active in early autumn, summer, and late spring in the shrub’s canopy and trees. During winter, they hibernate in their nests.

They can be found in a wide range of landscapes and habitats, especially old managed woodlands that are linked by continuous hedgerows. The reason behind their long-term decline is the loss of old woodlands over the past few decades. The few that are left are suffering because of lack of management and the neglect or removal of hedgerows.

If you want to find a nut that has been nibbled on by hazel dormice, then look for one with a round hole in the shell.

You may also check out pouched rat facts and xerus facts from Kidadl.

Fun Hazel Dormouse Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Caterpillars, wasp galls, aphids

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.037-0.044 lbs (17-20 g)

How long are they?

2.36-3.54 in (6-9cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Golden brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable to Extinction

Where you'll find them?

Old Woodlands











Hazel Dormouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hazel dormouse?

The hazel dormouse is a common dormouse and the only living species of the Muscardinus genus. During winter, they hibernate in their nests.

What class of animal does a hazel dormouse belong to?

The hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, belongs to the Mammalia class.

How many hazel dormice are there in the world?

The population of hazel dormice in Britain was steady, but over the past 100 years, there has been a decline in their population as well as hazel dormouse range. According to The State of Britain’s Dormice report published in 2019, their population has declined by 51% since 2000. Since their range has been shrinking significantly, they have been confined mainly to southern England and Wales. Even in these areas, these animals are in a patchy distribution.

Where does a hazel dormouse live?

Across its range, the hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, prefers to live in the successional stages of woody vegetation, trees, the new growth has arisen after woodland management such as ride widening, glade creation, thinning, and coppicing. In the UK, this dormice species is closely associated with the old coppice woodland. Apart from the woodland, they can also be found in old hedgerows, scrub habitats of trees, and conifer plantations.

What is a hazel dormouse's habitat?

The hazel dormouse's habitat is woody vegetation, trees, the growth that arises after woodland management.

Who do hazel dormice live with?

The hazel dormouse prefers to live in a small family group in woodland trees.

How long does a hazel dormouse live?

A hazel dormouse, or common dormouse, can live for up to five years.

How do they reproduce?

There is not a lot of information available on how this species mates. However, since the males are territorial and they don’t live in groups, it might mean that these animals are polygynous. The breeding season is between May and September during which they can breed twice. The females produce their young around June or early July and from the end of July to August. The gestation period of the species is 24 days that yield up to seven young. All the babies have closed eyes at birth, which they open at the age of three weeks. They become independent at five weeks old. This species becomes sexually mature after their first winter hibernation, by the summer. They hibernate in their nests during the winter.

What is their conservation status?

The hazel dormouse or common dormouse is a rare species that is Vulnerable to Extinction. Their conservation is a priority in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is currently protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Hazel Dormouse Fun Facts

What do hazel dormice look like?

Hazel Dormouse

A hazel dormouse is only 2.36-3.54 in (6-9 cm) in length and has a tail of similar length. They have big black eyes, a long, feathery tail, and soft golden brown fur. These cute dormice weigh between 0.037-0.044 lbs (17-20 g). However, they might be a bit heavier before hibernation.

How do they communicate?

Hazel dormice establish complex social structures, territories, and family groups. There are several ways through which they can communicate with each other, using their ears, mouths, bodies, and noses. Their vocal communication is mostly outside the hearing range of a human, though, some squeaks can be heard in the lower voice range.

Hazel dormice squeak while talking to each other. They also squeak when they are scared. There are plenty of vocalizations made by the hazel dormouse that we are not able to hear. Male dormice create a type of ultrasonic sound for attracting females ready to breed. Females might use ultrasonic vibrations for talking to other females as well.

For a hazel dormouse, urine is a vital part of communication. There are certain pheromones and chemicals in the urine that helps them determine which hazel dormouse is related to whom, whether they are prepared for breeding, who is in charge, and whether they have enough food to eat. The dominant male’s scent is different from other males of the family group. If you have a hazel dormouse as a pet, you have to clean their cage frequently. If you leave the urine-soaked nesting materials in the cage, it will help them communicate.

Hazel dormice use body language for communicating basic emotions like fear or aggression. When a male dormouse wags his tail, it is a sign of aggression. Males fight for dominance as well as for the right to mate with females. They wag their tails for warning each other of any impending fights. Weaker or younger males might cower and not wag back in order to prevent a fight.

How big is a hazel dormouse?

The average body length of a hazel dormouse can be between 2.36-3.54 in (6-9 cm). Their tail is almost the same length as their body.

How fast can a hazel dormouse run?

A hazel dormouse can run at a speed of about 4.3 mph (7 kph).

How much does a hazel dormouse weigh?

The average weight of a hazel dormouse is around 0.037-0.044 lbs (17-20 g). However, just before hibernation, it can almost double as they store fat for the long winter.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females are called hazel dormice.

What would you call a baby hazel dormouse?

Babies of hazel dormice are called pups or pinkies.

What do they eat?

The hazel dormouse is a successful feeder whose diet must include a wide range of food to be active. During spring, their diet includes flowers of oak, willow, sycamore, and hawthorn from the wildlife. As the season progresses, they move on to food like flowering shrubs such as bramble and honeysuckle. In the summer season, they include caterpillars, wasp galls, and aphids in their diet. Then, they eat fruits and berries like hazelnuts and blackberries to fatten themselves up for hibernation in the woodland.

Hazel dormice eat food as often as they need to before hibernation so that they can build up fat stores. These animals may also store food in their nests as a backup if they wake up during a warm spell.  

Are they dangerous?

Hazel dormice have a habit of getting inside homes to get easy meals. They have to continuously gnaw for keeping their teeth honed. They can chew through electrical cables and create fire risks.

Would they make a good pet?

Because of their conservation status, it is best that you don’t get them as a pet, even if they look super fluffy and cute. Also, they aren’t social creatures, like to keep themselves, and have to go under hibernation, which won’t make them a very fun hazel dormouse pet.

Did you know…

That hazel dormouse is a nocturnal rodent that sleeps most of the time in the wildlife. It is because of its sleepy nature that it is called dormice. It comes from ‘dormir’, a french word that means to sleep. They are arboreal and nocturnal which means that most of their time is spent on the branches of the trees to keep them off the ground. They rely on their whiskers to help them move within the canopy. Smell, hearing, and vision play an important role in assisting them through the environment.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, this nature is well portrayed. The dormouse present at the tea party of Mad Hatters is nodding off, singing, and talking in its sleep. Its lazy and hopeless nature is what enhanced its popularity.

Why are hazel dormice endangered?

Hazel dormice are slow breeders which makes them vulnerable to extinction. Also, they don’t disperse like other species. Their habitat is old woodlands that were linked by well-established hedgerows. But, the lack of woodland management or their removal, habitat fragmentation, and the growing human population have caused a reduction in their habitat resulting in a significant drop in their population. Since they don’t disperse as well as other species, any newly managed woodland that lost its dormice population won’t be able to regain them. Another potential factor that might affect their population is climate change.

However, there is still hope. Even though there has been a significant decline in their population over the past few decades, it seems like the decline rate is actually slowing down. Over the past 25 years, many scientists and volunteers have been monitoring the species to get a better understanding of their nature and finding out ways to protect them. There is also a Dormouse reintroduction program that has been implemented and extended.

How to draw a hazel dormouse

No one can deny that hazel dormouse is a cute species. If you want to draw them, just follow the below-mentioned steps:

Draw a large ‘U’ to create the shape of their face.

Add mouth, nose, eyes, whiskers, and ears to make up the face.

For the back of their body, draw a large curve.

Draw two small front paws.

Draw a small hind leg.

To complete the drawing, draw a long and thin tail that is coming from its backside.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our field vole facts and rice rat facts pages.

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

Written By
Team Kidadl

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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