Woodland dormouse

Woodland dormouse

Graphiurus murinus

Conservation status: IUCN – LC (Least concern).

Geographic range: Africa: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Physical description: Woodland dormice are one of the larger African dormice species. Their bodies are between 70 mm and 165 mm long with 50-135 mm long tails. They weigh between 20 g and 35 g and are similar in appearance to squirrels. Their dorsal pelage ranges from light to dark grey in colour and their ventral pelage is white. A distinctive ring of darker fur encircles their eyes. 

Biology: Woodland dormice are nocturnal and highly arboreal. They forage at night, mostly for insects and vegetation. They begin hibernating at a temperature of about 15°C. During periods of inactivity, African dormice spend time in their nests, which males, females and juveniles will share. Males are territorial during the breeding season and although it is the females which scent mark territorial boundaries, they do not make warnings to members of opposing groups. Breeding occurs during the summer and females have 1 to 2 litters per year. Pups weigh approximately 3.5 g at birth, and they are not reproductively mature until after their first hibernation.

Lifespan: Up to 6 years.

Food habits: Buds, leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, nuts, insects, small rodents, eggs, young small birds, reptiles. 

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