Significance to humans

The ability of dormice to store reserves of fat in their bodies has made them desirable to humans as food. Their appeal dates back millennia—the Romans kept edible dormice in darkened enclosures called glisaria. Dormouse eating is well documented in southern Africa, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia and there is good reason to suppose it has taken place wherever humans have come into contact with these mammals.

Dormice are also famous for their sustained periods of hibernation and torpor. Indeed, the name comes from the French dormir—to sleep. The hazel dormouse—known in rural England as the sleep-mouse—gained wider notoriety when it was portrayed in Lewis Carroll's book Alice in Wonderland and in the Disney movie nearly a century later.

1. Chinese dormouse (Dryomys sichuanensis); 2. Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius); 3. Spectacled dormouse (Graphiurus ocularis); 4. Japanese dormouse (Glirulus japonicus); 5. Garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus); 6. Edible dormouse (Myoxus glis); 7. Desert dormouse (Se-levinia betpakdalaensis); 8. Forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula); 9. Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse (Myomimus roachi). (Illustration by Gillian Harris)

0 0

Post a comment