Glis glis is a European species. It occurs from France and northern Spain to the Volga River and northern Iran. Glis glis also occurs on the islands of Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Crete, and Corfu. (Nowak 1991)
Glis glis inhabits inhabits deciduous or mixed forests and fruit orchards in both the lowlands and mountains. The most common site for daily shelter is the hollow of trees. The hollows may be lined with grass or other vegetation. Glis glis also shelters in crevices between rocks, burrows among tree roots, woodpecker holes, piles of mulch, attics, barns, and artificial nest boxes. (Nowak 1991)
The approximate length of the head-body is 14-20 cm. They have a gray back and head with dark, narrow rings around the eyes. The underparts are white or yellowish. Their pelage is short, soft, and thick. These animals are squirrel-like with large and rounded ears, small eyes, and a long bushy tail (11-19 cm). The hands and feet are both equipped with hard pads for use in climbing. The four digits of the forefeet and the five digits of the hindfeet have short, curved claws. Glis glis is sciurognathous and myomorphous. Dental formula: 1/1, 0/0, 1/1, 3/3. (Nowak 1991; Niethammer 1990; MacDonald 1984)
Glis glis have one litter a year. The litter can consist of 1-11 individuals, but usually falls in the range of 4-6 offspring. Their gestation period is 30-32 days and the young weigh 1-2 g at birth. G. glis is usually weaned at 5-6 weeks and reaches maturity after 1-2 years. To attract males to mate, the females will drag their anal region across the ground to produce an odor marking. These trails are eagerly sniffed by the males, which then leave their marks on top. Also, edible dormice can make a whistling sounds at short intervals over long periods, which announce their willingness to mate. The wanting male pursues the female and makes a fine chirping sound with its mouth closed. At first, the female runs away or defends itself, purring and rattling its teeth and beating its paws. It may even jump the male and bite it. These acts are believed to be play because when the male gives up the female will follow it.
After mating, the female spends more time bringing nesting material into the den and becomes very sensitive to interference. It uses hairs and feathers as lining material. The nests are usually off the ground, in a hole in a tree for example. The young of G. glis exit the womb with the hind end first. The offspring are quite undeveloped at birth. The external ears unfold after 5 days; the auditory canal opens after 12 days; the eyelids separate after 21 days; the lower rodent teeth come through after 13 days while the upper ones come through after 2o days.
Mating season for G. glis is usually in July. The young are born around August, which gives about two months of growing time before they have to hibernate at the end of October.
(Niethammer 1990; MacDonald 1984)
The edible dormouse is primarily nocturnal and crepuscular, though occasionally it is active during the day. It is highly arboreal, and its agility in the trees may exceed that of squirrels. Some have been known to leap 7-10 meters. It has exceptionally good senses of vision, hearing, smell, and touch (through its vibrissae). Individuals visit many trees each night in search for food. The edible dormouse is territorial, marking its space by glandular secretions. Individuals are quarrelsome, and males have been reported to fight savagely during breeding season. Males usually leave the females after mating in search for other females. Glis glis hibernates from September/October to May/June. In late summer, edible dormice dig tunnels about 3-6 feet long and about 6-24 inches deep When it begins to get cold, most edible dormice retire to these tunnels where they are protected from frost. Some edible dormice winter aboveground in haylofts, under decayed trees, in beehouses, or in the nests of red squirrels. Several animals have been found hibernating together. This is especially common for females. The decisive signal to begin storing fat for hibernation seems to be the decreasing length of daylight. While hibernating, they decrease the body heat generated to 2 percent of the amount during the waking state; the breathing rate decreases to about 1-3 respirations per minute. They wake up immediately when touched, which shows that their nervous system works well during hibernation.
(Niethammer 1990; Melnyk 1979)
Glis glis is omnivorous. It feeds mainly on seeds, leaves, buds, nuts, berries, acorns, and soft fruits. They eat insects occasionally and have been known to eat small birds. (Niethammer 1990; Nowak 1991)
In some areas Glis glis is considered very harmful to the production of fruit and wine. G. glis has been known to do considerable damage to trees and is considered a nuisance. (Hoodless 1993; Nowak 1991)
Glis glis is still rather common in Europe, occurring about 1 animal per hectare to 30 animals per hectare. Their numbers have decreased as a result of habitat destruction. (Niethammer 1990)
The taxonomy of this species has been fluid. They have been alternately considered Myoxus glis or Glis glis and placed it in the families Gliridae and Myoxidae. Common names include edible dormouse, fat dormouse, and squirrel-tailed dormouse.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
Nowak, R.M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Fifth Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
MacDonald, D. 1984. Encyclopedia of Mammals. Facts on File Publications, New York.
Melnyk R.B. 1979. Efficiency of Food Utilization During Body Weight Gain in Dormice (Glis glis). Physiology and Behavior. Volume 24. Brain Research Publications, New York.
Hoodless A. 1993. An Estimate of Population Density of the Fat Dormouse (Glis glis). Journal of Zoology. Volume 230. Oxford University Press, London.
Niethammer J. 1990. Dormouse-group Rodents. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Volume 3. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York.