African Pygmy Dormice Overview
African Pygmy Dormice or Graphiurus Murinus measure around 15cm including tail and as their large eyes suggest, are nocturnal. They are most active at dusk and dawn. They are only semi-sociable although there are beginning to be hand-tame African Pgymy Dormice. The majority will still be quite wild and due to their speed and agility, handling should be done with great care.
They are also known as Microsquirrels, African Dwarf Dormice, Woodland Dormouse, and sometimes Egyptian dormouse. African Pygmy Dormice belong to the suborder Myomorpha and are closely related to rats and mice. Unlike true mice, dormice have fur on the insides of their ears and on their bushy tails which may be due to the need to conserve heat during hibernation.
African Pygmy Dormice have a body length of roughly 9cm and another 7cm for their tail and are incredibly quick and agile. They have an average lifespan of 4-6 years.
They are colony animals and must be kept with company of their own kind, although like many rodents territory disputes can happen. They make a variety of twittering and bird-like sounds, examples of which can be found on our behaviour page. African Pygmy Dormice kept alone, or only in pairs, may be shyer and less active than a larger colony.
Your African Pygmy Dormouse vivarium must be arboreal and very large. It needs to be kept at a minimum of 21°C to prevent them entering a state of torpor. They are extremely active and need plenty of climbing material, natural enrichment such as branches and logs should be provided. An African Pygmy Dormouse vivarium should have as many nests as there are animals in the habitat, see our section on environment for more details.
African Pygmy Dormice are exotic rodents that are relatively new to the pet trade so can have a high price tag. The best place to start is to ask on exotics forums as a good private breeder is likely to have more knowledge than your average pet shop, and you do not run the risk of supporting rodent farms.
African Pygmy Dormice need a varied diet including provision made for nectar since a wild African Pygmy Dormouse diet would not only include nectar and pollen but also saps and other sweet gums. Live food such as cricket can also be introduced and provide vital natural enrichment.