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Mammals of Southern Africa

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A Guide to the: Woodland Dormouse - Graphiurus murinus

The Woodland Dormouse is an energetic little creature, whose ideal refuge is a tree hollow or crevice beneath the bark of a tree, although it will use other shelters, such as birds' nests or even a vacant spider's nest, which it will then line with grasses, feathers and other soft material. They have also been known to shelter under the roof of a house or in an outbuilding. They are the larger of two small species of dormouse that occur in the southern African subregion: adults' head and body lengths range from 8.4 to 11.7 cm, and they are predominantly grey.

A unique characteristic of a woodland dormouse is its ability to partially regrow a second tail if it has lost the original one; if only the tip of the tail has been severed, a brush of hair grows in its place. This animal is nocturnal and it is as at home among trees and bushes as it is on the ground, where rocks and debris provide cover. Its diet consists of plants (mainly grass seeds) and insects, the latter including termites, earwigs and dead bees, and it sometimes eats eggs and nestlings. The woodland dormouse's litter consists of three to four young, born in summer. They are relatively tame even in the wild but have sharp incisors and are inclined to bite.

More facts about Woodland Dormice

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