African Pygmy Dormice Diet
African Pygmy Dormice have a very varied diet and they need a range of foods available to them all the time. They cannot digest vegetable matter as they lack a cecum. Remember to place food somewhere high up where it less likely to be fouled and change the dishes frequently. Although they get a lot of moisture from their fresh fruit you must supply a source of water which will need changing twice a day if in a dish or bowl.
Although African Pygmy Dormice get plenty from their fruit, water should always be available. A small ceramic dish can be used although some keepers report that dormice are happy using bottles. Check with your breeder what your animals are used to before supplying.
Fresh fruit should be supplied most days. Citrus fruits are not approved of, but the following are: apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, mango, melon, papaya, pear, persimmon, physalis, sharon fruit, tomato. Dried fruit is often ignored so is fresh fruit is best.
I use Maple Syrup which is a vital nectar substitute, supplying plenty of amino acids and proteins. A wild African Pygmy Dormouse diet would not only include nectar and pollen but also saps and other sweet gums so Maple Syrup provides a cheap easy available alternative to keep a Dormouse diet as natural as possible. Maple Syrup can be provided in a shallow dish or lid ideally placed high and be warned if this spills on wood it is tricky to clean. You can offer this diluted through your water bottle or poured across their normal food. Another option is Red Nectar or bee pollen.
Again this must be constantly available, especially if you have a breeding pair or colony. Examples from the fridge include items such as Cheese, boiled or scrambled eggs, small amounts of boiled chicken, salmon, tuna (in spring water preferred), crayfish or prawns. You can also try a high protein dry cat food.
Insect Food should be a staple part of an African Pygmy Dormouse diet. Bogena Universal insect food/insectivore mix is a good base mix as this provides natural proteins and fats from insect sources these animals would eat in the wild.
Live insects are a good source of natural enrichment. You can buy cricket feeders and deep dishes for providing live mealworms. Crickets in particular provide good enrichment and exercise for African Pygmy Dormice as well as being very entertaining to watch. Locusts, waxworms and woodlice can also be given.
Egg food is particularly important for the girls if you are breeding. I've also found my alpha male enjoys this. It is a source of calcium and is purchasable at most bird specialists or your local pet shop.
Your Dormice need a basic seed mix that can comprise of items such as hemp, millet, linseed, macademias, maize, nygerseed, pinhead oatmeal, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, rolled oats, safflower, sunflower seeds together with a basic finch/parrot seed base. Fennel seed can be added to reduce the smell of urine and Millet sprays can be hung from your enclosure and bought in most pet shops. Since African Pygmy Dormouse cannot digest plant cellulose, the material of plant cell walls, fibre such as wood, plant leaves and stalks they will ignore the majority of a hamster or mouse mix.
Such as mealworms, monkey nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are always popular. Honey soaked seed bars suitable for parakeets and parrots and cuttle bones are also a good idea.