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Sculptures by Phyllis Bone

Common Dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius

Suborder Sciurognathi

The Common Dormouse lives in deciduous woodland that has plenty of secondary growth and scrub. It is strictly nocturnal and hibernates from October to April. The thick, bushy tail, which can come away when seized by a predator, makes this a distinctive mouse sized rodent.
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The feet are prehensile and very flexible, making this animal a good climber: most of its time is spent above ground.

The diet consists of flowers and pollen, fruits, nuts and insects; they are the only rodents that do not have a caecum - they eat little cellulose.

Unusually, they have four cheek teeth in each row with a unique pattern of transverse ridges. Premolars are present (dental formula: I 1/1, C 0/0, P 1/1, M 3/3) and all cheek teeth are rooted.