Dormouse, a squirrel-like, bushy-tailed mouse found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is not found in America. The dormouse hibernates during the winter, often sleeping six months at a time. (Dormouse means "sleeping mouse.'') When awake, it lives in trees and eats nuts, seeds, acorns, and fruit. In early fall it begins to store fat in its body, and by October it retires to a hollow tree or abandoned bird's nest to begin hibernation.
The European dormouse is about as large as a red squirrel. It is sometimes trapped for its fine, silky fur. The hazel dormouse, found in England, is a reddish-brown, alert animal. The rock dormouse, found in the mountain country of South Africa, has a peculiarly shaped flat skull, and is able to wedge itself into rocky crevices to avoid enemies.
Dormice belong to the family Gliridae. The European dormouse belongs to the genus Glis; the hazel dormouse is Muscardinus avellanarius; the rock dormouse belongs to the genus Gliriscus .The dormouse is a bushy-tailed mouse about the size of a red squirrel.