Dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius
|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.