Can Dormice Be Pets? Everything You Need to Know

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Dormice are small, adorable creatures native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are known for their big eyes, bushy tails, and hibernation habits.

While they are not commonly kept as pets, some people may wonder if owning a dormouse as a pet is possible.

Before considering a dormouse as a pet, it is essential to understand that they are not legal to own in all areas. In some countries, they are protected due to their declining populations in the wild.

Additionally, dormice have specific dietary and environmental needs that must be met to thrive in captivity.

It is not recommended for inexperienced pet owners to attempt to care for a dormouse without proper research and preparation.

While dormice may seem cute and cuddly, they are unsuitable for everyone. Considering the legal and ethical implications of owning a dormouse and the time, effort, and resources required to care for these animals properly is essential.


Dormice as Pets

Legal Considerations


Before considering keeping a dormouse as a pet, checking if it is legal in your area is essential. In some countries, dormice are protected species, and it is illegal to keep them as pets. In other areas, a permit may be required.

Researching local laws and regulations before bringing a dormouse into your home is essential.


Housing and Care


Dormice are arboreal animals and require a tall cage rather than a wide one. The cage should be at least 18 inches tall and have branches or other climbing structures for the dormouse to climb on.

The cage should also have a solid bottom to prevent injury. Bedding should be provided, such as shredded paper or aspen shavings.

Dormice are social animals and should be kept in same-sex pairs or groups. The cage should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria.

Fresh water should be provided daily, and food should be fed twice daily.




Dormice are omnivores and require a varied diet. They should be fed fruits, vegetables, and protein sources such as insects or cooked chicken. Commercially available rodent food can also be provided as a supplement.

It is important to note that dormice have specific dietary requirements and should not be fed certain foods such as dairy or high-fat foods.

Consult with a veterinarian or experienced dormouse owner for advice on proper diet.

While dormice can make exciting and entertaining pets, they require specialized care and attention.

Prospective owners should research local laws and regulations, as well as the specific needs of the dormice, before considering them as pets.


Potential Challenges

Health Concerns


While dormice can make fascinating pets, some health concerns remain.

First, dormice are prone to obesity and can develop diabetes if they are not given a proper diet and exercise.

Additionally, they are susceptible to respiratory infections, so keeping their living space clean and free of dust and other irritants is essential.


Lifespan and Breeding


Dormice can live up to six years in captivity, a significant commitment for a pet. They also have specific breeding requirements, including a period of hibernation during the winter months.

Breeding dormice requires careful planning and attention to detail, so it is not recommended for inexperienced pet owners.


Temperament and Activity Level


Dormice are nocturnal animals and can be pretty active at night, which may not be ideal for all pet owners.

They are also solitary animals and may not enjoy being handled or interacted with frequently. It is essential to provide them with plenty of hiding spaces and opportunities for exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

In summary, dormice can be fascinating pets but require specialized care and attention.

It is essential to consider the potential challenges before bringing a dormouse into your home.


Understanding Dormice

Species and Characteristics


Dormice are small, nocturnal rodents that belong to the family Gliridae. There are 29 different species of dormice, which can be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have a distinctive appearance: large eyes, round ears, and long, bushy tails.

Dormice are known for their ability to hibernate for long periods and are also skilled climbers.

Dormice are generally small, with most species weighing less than 50 grams. They have soft, thick fur that can range in color from brown to gray to yellow.

Their tails are usually longer than their bodies, and they use them for balance when climbing. Dormice have sharp teeth and claws, which they use to climb trees and defend themselves from predators.


Natural Habitat


Dormice are native to wooded areas and forests, where they live in trees and shrubs. They are found in a variety of habitats, including deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as scrubland and rocky areas.

Dormice are also found in gardens and parks in urban areas.

In their natural habitat, dormice feed on various foods, including nuts, seeds, fruit, and insects.

They are essential pollinators and seed dispersers and are vital in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

While dormice may seem cute and cuddly, they are wild animals requiring specialized care and attention.

Understanding their natural habitat and behavior is essential before considering them as pets.



In conclusion, dormice may seem like cute and cuddly pets, but they are unsuitable for domestication. Wild animals have specific needs that cannot be met domestically.

Dormice require a specialized diet that includes insects, fruits, and nuts. They also need much space to climb and explore and a dark and quiet place to sleep during the day. These requirements are challenging to meet in a typical household environment, even with the owner’s best intentions.

Furthermore, keeping dormice as pets in many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom is illegal. This is due to their protected status as a wild species and concerns about the potential impact on wild populations if they were to be bred in captivity.

While it may be tempting to keep a dormouse as a pet, it is essential to consider the animal’s welfare and the legal implications before doing so. Other suitable pets can provide companionship and entertainment without the risks and challenges of keeping a wild animal.

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