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Dormouse Care 101

Upon hearing the word ‘dormouse’ many people think of the cute little character from the mad tea party in the classic Lewis Carroll book Alice in Wonderland. Nowadays the dormouse, also known as the micro squirrel or African dormouse, is gaining popularity as a pocket pet. In this article, your local veterinarian 4S Ranch goes over a few basic facts about these teeny tiny furballs.

Basics

Dormice are very tiny, often only about four inches long, with cute fluffy tails that are often just as long as their bodies. These little ones live in small groups in the wild, and they enjoy having others of their own kind, so you can house more than one dormouse together. Just make sure to get same-sex pairs only. You’ll want to put your dormice together while they are fairly young, as adult dormice may fight if they haven’t met before. One thing to keep in mind when considering getting a pet dormouse is that these little ones are nocturnal, so they may be most active when you are sleeping.

Diet

Dormice are omnivores, and will eat a varied diet in the wild. To keep your pets happy and healthy, you’ll want to make sure the little guys get plenty of variety. Dormice can have a seed mix for their basic diet. You can put the food in a bowl, or just scatter it in the cage so they can forage for it. In addition to the seed mix, you can give your little buddies fruits and green veggies, insects, the occasional sunflower seed, and bits of egg or cooked chicken. Avoid lettuce, cabbage, spinach, citrus fruits, and avocado, as these foods are all toxic to dormice.

Cage

A glass tank with a mesh or wire top is an excellent choice for a dormouse habitat. These little ones are great escape artists, so you’ll want to be sure the cage is secure. Dormice need a house or hidey-hole to retreat into, as they are quite shy and will run and hide if something startles or frightens them. As far as size, we recommend a 20-gallon tank for two dormice. You’ll need a suitable substrate, such as aspen shavings or recycled paper. The substrate should be a few inches deep. Dormice love to climb, so your little pets will appreciate having some branches and ropes to climb. They will begin to go into hibernation at temperatures below 70, so make sure to place the cage in a room that is warm enough for them.

Do you have any questions about caring for dormice? We are here to help. Please contact us, your local veterinary clinic 4S Ranch, any time.

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