Most dormice occupy forest, woodland, or scrub habitat. True to their name, forest dormice are among the most arboreal, living in dense forests at up to 8,200 ft (2,500 m) in altitude. Hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) are also reluctant to come to ground, preferring to stay in the canopy of largely deciduous woodland. They may remain high in tall trees for several days at a time, or spend long periods feeding on low-hanging fruits close to the ground.

Edible dormice inhabit deciduous or mixed woodland. Both this species and the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) are also found in orchards. The latter species, also called the orchard dormouse, is also able to live on the ground, since small numbers are discovered in fields, swamps, steppe, and even places where there are no trees. However, their title is something of a misnomer, since most live in forest habitat.

African dormice live in a wide range of forested habitats, ranging from thick forest where they may even be diurnal, to thinly wooded riverbanks of mountainous, rocky areas. The desert dormouse lives in desert scrub. Only the little-studied mouse-tailed dormice appear to live on or under the ground. In southeastern Europe, Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse (My-omimus roachi) has been trapped in a variety of open habitats, but never in forest.

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