Dormouse Facts

Dormouse Facts
Dormouse belongs to the group of rodents. There are 29 different species of dormice, most of which can be found in Europe. Certain species of dormice live in Asia and Africa. Dormouse inhabits deciduous forests, grasslands, scrublands and rocky areas. In some parts of the world, dormice are kept as pets. Ancient Romans hunted dormice because of their meat. Unfortunately, this tradition still lives in certain parts of the Europe (Slovenia). British dormouse is extremely rare in the wild. This type of dormouse is endangered due to habitat loss and increased competition for food with animals such as grey squirrels.
Interesting Dormouse Facts:
Dormouse can reach from 2.4 to 7.5 inches in length (tail is usually the same length as the body) and 0.5 to 0.73 ounces of weight. Before hibernation, dormouse weighs much more, usually around 1.4 ounces.
Creamy, orange or golden coat covers dorsal side of the body. Belly is covered with white fur. Some types of dormouse have white, grey and black coat.
Dormouse has chunky body that ends with long, fluffy tail. It has large black eyes, long black whiskers and small ears.
Like all other rodents, dormouse has sharp and elongated front teeth (incisors) designed for nibbling.
Dormouse is an omnivore (animal which eats other animals and plants). Its diet consists of flowers, nectar, hazelnuts, and insects.
Dormouse plays important role in the pollination of flowers. It collects pollen on the whiskers when it drinks nectar and transfers it to the next flower.
Dormouse is nocturnal creature (active at night). It uses large eyes, whiskers and sense of smell to find food in the dark.
Dormouse rests during the day using the abandoned holes in the trees or nests above the ground.
Dormice are excellent climbers. They spend most of their time high in the trees and bushes where they can find food and hide from the predators.
Main predators of dormice are owls, eagles, falcons, cats, foxes and weasels.
Dormouse spends cold time of the year, from middle of October to April or May, in deep sleep (hibernation). Its body temperature and heart beats decrease significantly to preserve energy. During period of hibernation, dormouse uses body fats as only source of energy. Since hibernation can last more than 6 months, dormouse is also known as sleeper or sleep mouse.
Dormouse produces couple of sounds for communication (some of them cannot be detected by human ear).
Dormice produce one or two litters annually (from May to September).
Pregnancy lasts one month and ends with 4 babies that are blind and naked at birth. At the age of 4 weeks, youngsters are ready to leave the nest. They will reach sexual maturity at the age of one year.
Dormouse can survive 5 years in the wild and 6 in the captivity.

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