Edible Dormouse Natural History
This species is the largest of the dormice with a typical body length between 160-190cm with the tail making up an extra 12- 15 cm and weigh 130g.
Habitat and Distribution
They have a wide distribution across Europe into Iran and Turkmenistan. They are native to much of the continent however, the population in UK was introduced in 1902. Their habitat is typically woodland but the also inhabit shrubland, rocky areas and buildings.
They can reach a maximum lifespan of 13 years.
These dormice have a mostly vegetarian diet consisting of nuts, seeds, buds, leaves, fruits, fungi and bark. However, they will also eat insects and occasionally birds eggs
Groups and Breeding
A female will give birth to roughly seven pups between July and September. Their hair develops within 16 days and their eyes open a week later. Young will stay in the next for a month and daughters may stay longer and share the nest with their mother to communally raise and nurse their future young.
The edible dormouse is listed as least concern by the IUCN. However, people hunt them in a few countries such as Croatia and Slovenia and they face a number of natural predators such as owls, stoats, weasels and cats. Removals of oak forests are also creating a threat to the species in the northeast of its range.
It is called the edible dormouse because the Romans ate them as a delicacy.
The During Your Day Out in Kent
The edible dormouse a Wingham Wildlife Park is permanently on display in the reptile house.