Edible dormouse on a branch

Edible dormouse

Edible dormice are so called because the Romans snacked on them, keeping them in special jars and fattening them up with chestnuts and acorns for the table. Their bushy tails lend a squirrel-like appearance that is further enhanced by their dexterity in climbing and leaping through the trees of European forests. As the weather cools down during late autumn, edible dormice go into hibernation in underground tunnels, often in family groups. During this time their body heat drops by 98% and they breathe between one and three times per minute. They are not native to Britain. They were introduced to Hertfordshire, England, from Hungary in 1902. Although restricted to the Chiltern Hills, they have spread slowly since their introduction.

Scientific name: Glis glis

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Fat dormouse,
  • Squirrel-tailed dormouse

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The Edible dormouse can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Edible dormouse distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web