Woodland Dormouse

Woodland Dormouse

African dwarf dormouse, African pygmy dormouse, micro squirrel

Graphiurus murinus
Population size
Life Span
5-6 yrs
23-34 g
70-165 mm

Woodland dormice are small rodents with soft silky hair. Their eyes are large, the cheeks whitish and the ears rounded and brown. The upper parts of the body are some shade of golden or greyish-brown, sometimes with a coppery or reddish tinge, and with a darker streak running along the spine in some individuals. The underparts are pale grey flushed with white or cream. The hind feet of these animals are usually white with a dark streak. The bushy tail is about 85% of the length of the head-and-body, and is the same colour as the dorsal fur.



Woodland dormice are native to southern and eastern Africa. They are found in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These dormice occur in a range of habitats including woodland, grassland, savannah, and rocky areas. They also can be found in degraded and secondary habitats and sometimes enter buildings.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Woodland dormice are mostly arboreal, but in some locations, they are rock-climbing rodents. They are generally solitary when not breeding and live in nests which they build in a crevice or hole in a tree. Among other nest, locations can be abandoned swallows' nests, human habitations, among mosses and other epiphytes, and in the middle of a bush. Woodland dormice are nocturnal and forage alone at night. During winter when temperatures drop, these animals hibernate. Males become very territorial during the breeding season and establish a social hierarchy when they emerge from hibernation. They mark their territory with scents and make warning vocalizations to defend nesting territories. Females scent mark territorial boundaries as well, but they do not make warning vocalizations to chase males away. In order to communicate with each other Woodland dormice use mating and territorial calls, alarm squeaks, and twittering sounds.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Woodland dormice are omnivores. Their diet includes insects and other small invertebrates, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruit.

Mating Habits

year-round; peak in October-February
24 days
3-4 greys
4-6 weeks
grey or greys

Little is known about the mating system in Woodland dormice. However, as males become territorial and aggressive towards each other during the breeding season it is suggested that these animals exhibit a polygynous mating system. This means that males mate with more than one female. Woodland dormice usually breed throughout the year with the peak in October-February. Females give birth to 1 or 2 liters per year with 3-4 young in each litter; however, 6 young per litter is also possible. Gestation lasts around 24 days. Mothers nurse their young for 4-6 weeks. They protect them and groom them until pups become independent. Young become reproductively mature at 1 year of age.


Population threats

There are no known major threats to Woodland dormice at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Woodland dormouse total population size. This animal is common throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.


1. Woodland Dormouse on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodland_dormouse
2. Woodland Dormouse on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/9487/115093727

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