Dormouse or also known as Dormouse is a small rodent from the dormice family (Gliridae). Although the name suggests that it is a mouse, this is not the case. It is a species all its own. The dormouse may be small, but it is the largest of the dormice in Europe. The body length of these animals can vary from 13 to 19 centimeters. Characteristic of the dormouse is its bushy tail, which is slightly shorter than its body and is about 12 to 15 centimeters. Dormouse's fur is grey-brown in color with a dark dorsal stripe running down its back. The belly is lighter in color.
Body weight: 70 and the 200 grams
The dormouse is native to southern and central Europe and was introduced to England in 1902. They are nocturnal animals. Dormouse like a warm climate. The northernmost border where the animals still live in the wild is therefore South Limburg.
Dormouse can live up to 7 years, which is very old compared to other rodents.
Dormouse also lived in the Netherlands in the past, we are talking about the period before the Ice Age, when the Netherlands still had a tropical climate. The Dormouse also disappeared from the Pleistocene when the climate became colder in the Netherlands and the forests disappeared. Nowadays dormice only live in South Limburg, because it is still warm enough there.
Dormouse live in small groups
Dormouse as a pet
Dormouse can also be kept as pets. It is important to look at the natural needs of the animals and to reflect this as well as possible in the accommodation. Dormouse love fruit, so it is important to regularly check the enclosure for fruit residue, as this is quite perishable. Because of all that juicy fruit and moisture, dormice also urinate relatively much, making good bedding that absorbs well is a must for the animals. Depending on the diet, the stool can be rather sticky. The temperature should preferably not fall below 15°C.
Dormouse hibernate in the wild from October to May. They are therefore also called the "sleepyheads of nature". They are also the animals with the longest hibernation and because it lasts 7 months, dormice are also called "seven sleepers".
Tame and familiarize yourself with the Dormouse
Always read carefully before you decide to take dormice. They are very nice animals that are awake especially at night, making them less suitable for children, for example. Dormouse are very friendly and curious. They can be shy and quick at first. Once the Dormouse is on the hand, it can balance well thanks to the long tail, the animals move nimbly from one hand to the other or between the fingers. This ensures that they are easier to handle in the hands than, for example, Gerbils or Hamsters.
New residents should be approached calmly, especially at first. The animals must first become familiar with their own enclosure, feel safe in it before they dare to approach people. Of course there are also daredevils who immediately approach you and are social, but most Mice are a bit shy the first time. Give the animals time and try to make contact calmly by talking to them. Handing over some treats often works well to gain the trust of the animals.
TIP! Dormouse love nuts
Housing of the Dormouse
Dormouse are social animals that should be kept together. In the wild they live in small loose groups. In the wild, the animals live in trees. It is therefore good to set up the accommodation for climbing, but they also dig. In winter they hide for their hibernation in trees or in burrows in the ground that can reach up to 60 cm deep. So a thick pack of ground cover is also welcome!
Dormouse are real climbers and therefore need a spacious and high enclosure of at least 80 x 40 x 80 cm (lxwxh) for two animals. For each additional animal, 20% extra ground surface must be calculated. A good stay gives the animals the opportunity to display their natural behaviour. Dormouse are very active in the wild, they would like to continue to do so in captivity, they do not want to be bored. The Dormouse needs an extended stay with lots of play, digging and climbing opportunities. The long tail allows dormice to keep their balance very well, making them great climbers.
Hamsterscaping is great fun for dormice too!
At our home, a good Dormouse stay translates into a spacious stay with a lot of challenge and sufficient hiding places. A terrarium is the best choice because of its closed nature. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably has two grids (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.
House for a dormice
Dormouse are lucky! because many houses that are made for hamsters are also a good size for dormice. They are prey animals and do not like to walk openly through the enclosure, if they occasionally come across a shelter where they can shoot away, they already feel a lot safer. Dormouse like to sleep together, so at least one house in the enclosure must be large enough to accommodate the entire group. In addition, one extra sleeping house or hiding place per Dormouse is ideal. The animals like to sleep together, but they should also have a place where they can retreat for a while.
Grass houses are also very natural for Dormouse and the animals like it very much because it mimics a natural hiding place.
Ground cover for dormice
Due to their diet, dormice often have sticky stools and urinate a lot. It is important that the bedding for dormice absorbs well. An example of well-absorbing ground covers is for example Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber, Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber, Hemp Fiber and Hay. The mice also use the hay as nesting material. An ideal height of the bedding for foraging and digging is around 15 cm.
Dormouse are nest builders
Dormouse are real nest builders. They also like to cover their nest with soft nesting material . Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a dormouse. In nature they mainly do this with moss, leaves and twigs. Therefore, always give the dormice 15-25 grams of nesting material. Mice nesting material should be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot get entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.
Food for dormice
Dormouse are omnivores (omnivores), but in practice they mainly eat vegetarian. At night the animals wake up and go in search of food. They do this in the wild by foraging at the bottom of the forest. Relmuzien's diet consists mainly of seeds, nuts, vegetable food in the form of plant parts and herbs , but also animal proteins. Dormouse catch small insects in the wild or raid the nests of birds to eat the eggs, so it is good if their diet also contains animal proteins.
Gnawing material to wear down the teeth
Dormouse have a natural need to gnaw. This is because dormice are rodents and have growing incisors. It is therefore necessary for these animals that they can gnaw on something to wear out their teeth. The best is bark wood they love it! If dormice have too few opportunities to wear their teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.
Most dormice gnaw bark very actively. However, it is a matter of taste and, on the other hand, a matter of need how much the animals gnaw on it. If a dormouse has no need to gnaw because the teeth stay at a good length due to the food, hay or other nibbles, then he will gnaw less on gnawing wood. It is good to always offer natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw if they have a need to gnaw.
Did you know?
Dormouse imitate the hum of hornets to deter intruders at their nest?
Dormouse can even sleep 11 months in a row? This especially happens if the beech trees have too few beechnuts. As a result, the animals have too little food for young and they sometimes go into hibernation in July
Reproduction of the dormouse
After hibernation, which lasts 7 months, dormice start looking for each other. That is, the females and males seek each other out in the wild to mate. This is usually in June to August. If the mating is successful, between two and nine small naked dormice are born 31 days later. The animals often only have one litter per year because there is no time left for the next litter. Once the current young have been raised, preparations must be made for the approaching hibernation.
Throw count : 1 per year