A pair of hazel dormouse sleeping in their nest during hibernation


Dormice are famous for being sleepy. Their hibernation may last up to six months if the outside temperature remains cold. To accomplish this feat they store body fat during the summer months. Dormice are also unique among rodents in their lack of a cecum, that is the part of the gut used to ferment vegetable matter. These small, agile creatures are most at home in woodland, where they are well adapted to climbing trees. With a few exceptions in Africa and Asia, most of the 30 species of dormice live in Europe. The hazel dormouse is the only one native to the United Kingdom. The edible dormouse was introduced to Hertfordshire in the early 1900s.

Scientific name: Myoxidae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Dormice taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Dormice can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.