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Dormice: Myoxidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Dormice usually live in small groups where half are younger dormice. Families hibernate together during winter. Hibernation occurs for about seven months. During this time period, their body temperature drops and their breathing and heartbeat slows down. They curl into a ball, with their tail covering their mouth so that they lose the least amount of water. They may wake up during this period in order to eat stored food, but this does not happen frequently. This extended resting time helps the dormice survive when there are low temperatures and little food to be found. Hibernation ends around April, when the weather gets warmer. At that time, they eat a lot of food and begin their mating season.

Dormice usually are not protective of their territory, but this changes during the mating season, when males become aggressive about their territory. Males use calls to attract the females. Males mate with more than one female during the mating season. The females can give birth from May to October. They are pregnant for three to four weeks. They can have anywhere from two to ten babies in a litter, although four babies is an average. The mother gives birth in her nest, in a tree hollow, on a branch, or maybe even underground in a shelter. When the young are born, they are pink, blind, and weigh around 0.07 ounces (2 grams). They grow gray hair by the time they are seven days old. When they are eighteen days old, they can see and hear and have brown hair. They are soon able to go out and find food with their mothers. When they are four to six weeks old, they are ready to go off and live on their own, but they may stay with their mothers through the next hibernation period. At the end of their first hibernation, the young are around a year old, and are ready to mate that spring. Dormice can live up to six years.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsDormice: Myoxidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Edible Dormouse (myoxus Glis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DORMICE AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS