Forest dormouse

Dryomys nitedula

SUBFAMILY

Leithiinae

TAXONOMY

Dryomys nitedula (Pallas, 1778), lower Volga River, Russia. Fifteen subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Lerotin; German: Baumschläfer; Spanish: Muscardino balcanico.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 3.1-5.1 in (8-13 cm), tail 2.35-4.5 in (6-11.3 cm); weight 0.6-1.2 oz (18-34 g). Color is grayish to yellowish brown, buffy white underneath.

DISTRIBUTION

Central Europe and western Asia to Tien Shan mountains. HABITAT

Forests and shrubs in gardens and fields.

BEHAVIOR

Arboreal and highly agile—able to leap distances of up to 6.6 ft (2 m) between trees.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Carnivorous in summer, eating spiders and other small invertebrates, eggs, and young birds. Otherwise subsists on seeds, buds, and fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests colonially, either in one tree or in adjacent trees. Three litters south of its range and one litter of usually 2-5 young in temperate areas.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Classified as Lower Risk/Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Loss of forest habitat has caused declines in central Europe.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Causes damage to crops in apple orchards. ♦

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