Woodland Dormouse

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Is this exotic mammal right for you?

Other name(s): African Dwarf Dormouse; African Pygmy Dormouse; Micro Squirrel

Scientific name: Graphiurus murinus

The basics:
The Woodland Dormouse is a small, squirrel-like species of rodent in the Gliridae family. It is native to forests and woodlands in eastern and southern Africa. Woodland Dormice are nocturnal and mostly arboreal, and forage at night for insects and vegetation.

Appearance / health:
The Woodland Dormouse is a small rodent that matures to about 4 inches in body length. The white-tipped bushy tail is a little over half the body length. They have dense, plush fur that is grayish-brown in color (the belly area is whitish). The chin and feet are whitish; the area under the eyes is typically darker in shade. The ears are tiny. The eyes are dark and relatively large for the head, an adaptation to their being nocturnal.
African Pygmy Dormice are becoming popular as pets because they are lively and energetic, and at the same time small and easy to care for. They may not be as easy to handle as other small mammals but if they are tamed while very young, they can become accustomed to handling and being in the presence of humans.

As social animals, they are best kept in pairs or groups of individuals brought together at a young age. They are most active at night.

Small as they are, African Pygmy Dormice are best housed in a medium-sized glass enclosure (10-20 gallon size for a pair) with a secure fine wire mesh lid. As tree dwellers, they will appreciate a cage equipped with branches for climbing and exercise. There should also be a few nesting boxes or hides, preferably one for each dormouse.

The substrate or bedding should be at least 2 inches thick, preferably a highly absorbent material, like recycled paper or wood (aspen) shavings. Ropes, rodent wheels, tubes, and tunnels are recommended for exercise and activities.

The cage should be kept dry and clean. Fresh water should be provided daily. Temperatures should not drop to lower than 65F.

The staple diet of Dormice consists for grains, nuts, seeds, fruits/nectar, and insects (termites, crickets, dead bees). A balanced diet for the captive African Pygmy Dormouse should include supplements like powdered minerals and vitamins added to their regular food. Water should be provided in a hanging bottle. An African Pygmy Dormouse's diet in captivity must include provision for nectar since in the wild they would eat nectar and pollen and also saps and other sweet gums. A good alternative for this is to provide Maple Syrup, either offered pure in a shallow dish, diluted through a water bottle or poured over their normal food.


cute, awesome pets, great fun, tame, unique


nocturnal, dietry requirements, decent arboreal vivarium, complicated diet


teeny size, colony animals

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