Dormouse: where it lives and the curiosities about this animal

Dormouse: everything you need to know about the animal that loves to sleep

One wild rodent very nice looking is the ghiro. Its scientific name is Glis glis, is part of the Gliridae family and it is the only species of the genus Glis. It is often found in attics and houses in rural areas, where it gives life at night to funny wild races in the cavities of the walls and in the attics. Also known for the saying “Sleep like a log”, this is the appearance, behavior and diet of this funny sleepyhead.

Scientific classification of the dormouse

Source: Pixabay

This is the scientific classification of the dormouse:

  • Dominio: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animals
  • Sottoregno: Eumetazoa
  • Branch: Bilateria
  • Superphylum: Deuterostomy
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
  • Superclasse: Tetrapoda
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Subclass: Theria
  • Infraclasse: Eutheria
  • Superordine: Euarchontoglires
  • (clade): Glires
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Family: Gliridae
  • Subfamily: Glirinae
  • Genre: Glis
  • Specie: G. glis

Subspecies of the dormouse

A subspecies of the dormouse, the Glis glis melonii or Sardinian dormouse, until some time ago it was considered extinct. However it has been sighted several times in Sardinia.

Where does she live?

L’ghiro habitat it is quite large: we find it both in Europe and in Asia. Here with us in Italy it is an animal in which it is quite common to come across. If you want to spot one, you will find them mainly in wooded areas between 600 and 1,500 meters. Particularly appreciated are the areas rich in undergrowth and old trees where it nests.

Furthermore, in winter it is not uncommon that it decides to make its den in rural houses, hiding in the attic or in the cavities.

Characteristics of the dormouse and appearance

dormouse house
Source: Pixabay

Come appearance, the dormouse is a small rodent. It is more or less 30 cm long, of which 13 only for the tail, large and very hairy. The weight it is about 70-100 grams, little more than a gray hamster.

The coat it is gray-brown on the back, while the abdomen is white. The muzzle is pointed and has two round and large eyes, with long and thick whiskers. The eyes they are surrounded by slightly darker fur.

the ears they are small and rounded, they can be seen barely emerging from the fur. It is often confused with the squirrel, but to distinguish the two just look at the tail: the dormouse always keeps its tail long and extended, never curled like the squirrel.


dormouse cub
Source: Pixabay

As for the reproduction, the dormouse reproduces in spring, when it wakes up from its long hibernation. Females give birth only once a year: 2-8 puppies are born at each birth. There dormouse pregnancy lasts 1 month.

Sometimes it happens that, such as during hibernation, multiple females share the same den, raising offspring together. THE summer nests, those where pups are raised, tend to be built high up, in hollows or bifurcations of tree branches. THE nests for hibernationinstead, they are built lower down, sometimes even underground.

Behavior and habits

dormouse sleeps
Source: Pixabay

The dormouse is a purely nocturnal animal, as well as those who have them at home know and hear them move and run especially at night. During the day it remains hidden in burrows built in trees or in ravines. Alternatively, it can build round nests using leaves, bark pieces and moss.

It is an animal that hibernates in winter, which is why in the fall she gains a lot of weight to build the foundation she needs to endure her long sleep break of about 6 months. Hence the saying that associates the dormouse with sleeping. However, this is not a continuous lethargy. Every so often he wakes up, eats what he has accumulated in the den as a reserve and goes back to sleep.

I dormice sleep all day rolled up in their nests, often covering their snouts with their bushy tails. For this reason it is difficult to see them around during the day.

Diet and nutrition

Come supply, the dormouse diet it is largely vegetarian. It feeds on acorns, berries, hazelnuts, chestnuts, berries, seeds, sprouts and mushrooms that it finds when it comes out of the den at night. However, from time to time, it may also happen that it eats insects, shellfish, and bird eggs.

Curiosities about the dormouse

Here are a few curiosity about the dormouse:

  • If you search on Google Images, you will find pictures and dormouse drawings for children to color: in this way they will get to know this animal better
  • Dormice often decide to make their lairs in the houses, especially in rural areas. It’s not easy capture them without hurting them, so rely on specialized personnel
  • Use creoline against dormice? No, it is used diluted in 5% water to disinfect containers (such as garbage cans) and to keep mice, rats and dormice away.
  • Perhaps not everyone knows that the ancient Romans gave the hunting dormice to eat them. They were caught and fattened for use as appetizers. In the past, moreover, there were several dormouse-based recipes, such as the roast dormouse alla Brianza, particularly popular in Lombardy. But dormouse hunting is now prohibited, which is why it is currently illegal to eat these meats
  • Fra i principali dormice predators we include owls, owls, tawny owls, foxes and stone martens

The dormouse as a pet?

The ghiro cannot be detained like pet: it’s a wild animal, so I am forbidden to capture and detention. If you really want a small rodent as a pet, you can opt for other species such as guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters or degus.

I know you find a wounded dormouse, contact the Forestry or Cras immediately: they will be able to provide you with information on how to proceed.

Source: GreenStyle by

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