|by Marcia Malory|
The hazel dormouse, also called the common dormouse, lives in northern Europe, including Great Britain, and in Asia Minor.
The hazel dormouse is famous for its long period of hibernation and for the way it nibbles hazelnuts.
It opens a hazelnut by turning the nut around its lower incisors, leaving a smooth, circular hole.
The hazel dormouse is nocturnal (active at night.)
It spends most of its time in trees (is arboreal).
When it is awake, it spends most of it time looking for food on tree branches.
It is omnivorous. In addition to hazelnuts, it eats nuts, berries, flowers and insects, among other things.
In the summer, the hazel dormouse builds a nest of grass and honeysuckle bark in a shrub or a tree.
During the winter, it hibernates in a small oval nest near or below ground level.
It hibernates from October through April or May.
Young dormice make small nests of their own as soon as they leave their mothers.
Although dormice look like mice, they belong to a different family than true mice.
Unlike mice, dormice have furry tails.