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The dormouse (Glis glis), together with the garden dormouse, the dormouse and the rare tree dormouse belongs to the family of the rachis (Gliridae). The nocturnal rodent is often confused with a squirrel because of its shape and large eyes, although it is much smaller and has rounded ears. The dormouse is widespread in low mountain regions, more rarely in the northwest German lowlands. He is not seen too often by humans because he is active only at dusk and sleeps most of the year - namely the winter.


In the family of the Bilche the dormouse is the most well-known and largest animal. He is about nine years old and can reach a body length of almost 20 centimeters. Add to that his bushy, 15 centimeters long tail. The dormouse becomes 80 to 160 grams heavy. With its gray to gray-brown coat and the clearly contrasting light belly - together a good camouflage - he is hardly noticeable on branches or in tree hollows of Buchen.

With its protruding large black eyes, the dormouse still sees well in low light. In absolute darkness, his whiskers, up to six centimeters long, help him to find his bearings. This is supported by his four hairy, so-called "Tasthügel" on the face and chin. He also has a very good ear.
The dormouse is a very good climber. His pointed claws and sole pads, which work like suckers, help him to climb even on vertical surfaces and to reach into treetops - until then his hunting grounds are enough. Bilche use a whole range of sounds to communicate with each other: squealing, whistling, whistling right through to toothache.


As a habitat, the long-sleepers prefer large mixed forests with old oaks and beech trees, from whose fruits they feed. A high proportion of dead wood in the forests is suitable for them, because they find enough niches and caves, in which they can crawl. Sometimes they also live in barns, garden sheds or abandoned attics with hide-and-seek caves.

Afteractive dormouse

The dormouse is nocturnal. His big eyes and handy hair help him to orient himself


Beetles, acorns, buds, barks and fatty nuts are on the menu of the dormouse. The animals are hunters and also eat insects, snails and bird eggs and sometimes small juveniles.


The dormouse is an absolute late riser - he spends the entire winter months in deep sleep. In addition, he eats until late summer Winter Speck and doubles his body weight to get by without food from October to May. At the beginning of autumn, the animals take care of the winter quarters. They nest in tree or rock caves nests of moss, grasses and ferns. In addition to hidden niches and empty nesting boxes, holes and piles of fallen leaves can also be used. Most of the time the animals dig in to protect themselves from frost. In the small (earth) cave, the dormouse takes a spherical posture to reduce its heat radiation as much as possible. His activity goes back to a minimum: he still has a body temperature of five degrees Celsius and instead of the usual 300 beats per minute his heart taps only about ten times a minute. As a result, he can manage with the small supply of oxygen in the cave. At the end of April / beginning of May he wakes up after short warm-up and recovery phases after up to eight months from hibernation.

Dormouse in the Benjeshecke

Curled up like a ball, the dormouse hibernates. For eight months he relies on his reserves of spring and summer

Mating and offspring

After the awakening in late spring, the mating season begins. The mating behavior of science is still a mystery, because the males "already" know in the spring, whether in the fall there will be sufficient food supply, especially beechnuts. Their fertility depends on it. How exactly this "forward-looking control" works could not be clarified so far. After about 30 days of gestation, the dormouse between the beginning of August and mid-September throw two to seven blind boys who open their eyes after 21 to 32 days and immediately start to eat for the coming hibernation.


Among the natural predators of the dormouse are martens, larger owls and domestic cats.

Dormouse in the garden

Dormouse can be unloved lodgers in attics, because they loudly attract attention there and gnaw cables, insulation and other devices - after all, there are rodents.The animals belong to the protected species and should be tolerated. Gardens favored by nocturnal animals include oak and beech, fruit and walnut trees and berry bushes. In addition, the animals like well-protected daytime hideouts such as tree hollows and nest boxes, dry and cool winter quarters (burrows or tool sheds) and a diverse food supply.
Gardens that are adjacent to a woody deciduous forest are best suited. If a tolerated pet is in the loft, you should wait until May / June / July to clean up and renovate if the animals no longer hibernate. Slippage opportunities for the animals should be left. If you want to remodel your garden, it is important to maintain small-scale and structured areas as well as shrubs and hedges for the dormouse, so that there are sufficient shelter opportunities and sufficient food remains

Dormouse in a wall column

Protected in the wall cleft, the dormouse feels most comfortable

Seven Sleepers' Day

Contrary to popular belief, the animals have nothing to do with the farmer's rule for Dormouse Day. Because this day goes back to a legend, after the seven persecuted Christians were walled in the year 251 AD at Ephesus on the orders of the Roman Emperor Decius in a mountain cave, fell asleep and were awakened after 195 years again.

Video Board: Snoring Dormouse with sound - listen.

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