Should You Have a Pet African Dormouse?

Should You Have a Pet African Dormouse?

Here we can see, “Should You Have a Pet African Dormouse?”

The African dormouse, sometimes known as a micro squirrel, is a small rodent with mouse-like traits that resembles a miniature squirrel. These rodents are endemic to eastern and southern Africa’s subtropical and tropical regions, and they’re rarely seen in the exotic pet trade. Dormice are fast-moving and dexterous animals that are difficult to control. They require a large enclosure to exercise in, as well as a variety of food. They are generally tough to care for and necessitate a skilled and committed owner.

Can You Keep an African Dormouse as a Pet?


After an epidemic of the monkeypox virus was connected to African rodents, the United States banned the import of rodents from Africa, including the African dormouse, in 2003. However, several states do not have clear laws prohibiting the keeping of African dormice as pets if they were bred in the United States. Keeping exotic animals requires permission in several states. Furthermore, even if state rules permit the animal to be kept as a pet, local regulations may prohibit it. Check any homeowner’s association or landlord’s policies on exotic pets, as well.


An African dormouse demands a lot of attention, so even if you may legally own one, you should think about whether you should ethically own one. Before getting an African dormouse, as with any other pet, be sure you have the resources and time to properly care for it.

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African Dormouse Behavior and Temperament

Because African dormice are gregarious creatures, they should be housed in couples or small groups. Territorial aggression can occur, but if your group has been nurtured together since childhood, the dormice will usually coexist quietly. These rodents are nocturnal, meaning they are most active in the mornings and evenings. Dormice are normally peaceful animals, but when they are threatened, they will generate vocalisations that include harsh barking sounds.

They are shy as pets, and some may never become tame or comfortable around humans. The greatest way to end up with a pet that you can handle is to start handling it from a young age. Gently massage a dormouse’s fur and provide it with treats, such as bits of fresh fruit, to acclimate it to your presence while it’s in its enclosure. The next phase is to hold it in your hands for longer and longer periods of time. Some dormice enjoy crawling on their owners’ backs, while others prefer to hide in a shirt pocket. Nonetheless, dormice will bite if they feel threatened, so walk slowly and gently around them.

A dormouse will not form a bond with you in the same way that a dog or cat would. They will, however, become accustomed to your presence and will occasionally come up to the side of their enclosure to observe their owners. Keep any other pets in the house away from your dormouse to avoid harming this little, delicate rodent. At least a few hours a day should be spent touching your dormouse to keep it tame. You should also plan to spend several hours a week cleaning and making sure your rodent is eating well.


The best sort of home for African dormice is a glass or plastic tank with a securely fitting fine mesh top because they are skilled escape artists and can sneak through minor openings. The minimum suggested tank size for two dormice is a 10-gallon tank. Because these are such busy animals, you should obtain the largest tank you can afford so they have lots of room to roam around and explore.

Because dormice spend so much of their time in trees, it’s a good idea to give them climbing branches. Cotton ropes and toys made of wood and rope (search for parrot toys in the pet store) can also be suspended from the top of the enclosure for climbing and play. Another fantastic addition is a nest box or tiny animal hideaway, which can be obtained at most pet stores (cardboard tubes also work well both for hiding and playing). For exercise, add a tiny rodent wheel with a solid surface.

Dormice need a room temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the tank should be kept away from draughts. Also, because African dormice are sensitive to light, keep their cage away from windows and bright lights.

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Specific Substrate Requirements

Using a recycled paper product or aspen shavings, line your selected enclosure with a couple of inches of bedding. Pine and cedar bedding should be avoided since they irritate a rodent’s respiratory system. Every day, take out and replace any dirty patches of bedding. About once a week, take out and replace all of the bedding and clean all of the surfaces of the enclosure with mild soap and water.

What Food and Drink Do African Dormice Consume?

Dormice eat a wide variety of foods in the wild, including nuts, seeds, fruits, plants, bird eggs, and insects. The key to keeping dormice in captivity appears to be diversity. A nut and seed combination, such as those intended for hamsters and other tiny rodents, should make up the majority of your dormouse’s diet. Fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, and tomatoes, should be provided on a daily basis to augment this. Hard-boiled eggs, feeder insects (e.g., mealworms and crickets), and cooked chicken are all good protein sources.

Put a day’s worth of the nut and seed mix in a small dish in your animal’s enclosure and replace it with new food every 24 hours. You can do this at any time of day that is convenient for you, but it is ideal to give fresh meals at night in a separate bowl and remove any uneaten bits in the morning to avoid spoilage. Talk to your vet about how much and what kind of food to give your dormouse, as this will depend on its age, size, and activity level.

Keep a source of fresh water in your animal’s enclosure at all times, and change it out every day. Train your dormouse to drink from a rodent water bottle attached to the enclosure’s side, rather than a water dish, as this is easier to maintain clean. However, don’t take away its water dish until you’re certain it’s drinking from the bottle on a regular basis.

Typical Health Issues

Before purchasing an African dormouse, make sure you locate a veterinarian who is familiar with this species. Dormice are resilient animals in general, although they are prone to certain health problems.

A dormouse that feels cold to the touch could be in torpor, which is a condition of reduced physiological activity. The temperature and metabolic rate of the animal decrease, allowing it to conserve energy. A dormouse can go into torpor for a variety of reasons, including a cold habitat, a lack of food, and stress. While this state is occasionally required for survival in the wild, captive dormice kept in suitable conditions should not be forced to enter it. Dormice can die in this state if they are unable to rewarm their bodies, so if your animal is cold, try cupping it in your hands to provide immediate warmth.

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Injury is also one of the most serious hazards to the health of a captive dormouse. They can readily elude a person handling them due to their quickness and agility. This can result in a dangerous fall, as well as the possibility of being stepped on. If you must handle your pet, sit on the floor in a room with the door shut. In this manner, if your dormouse slips your grasp by accident, you should be able to reclaim it without harm.


The African dormouse needs a lot of exercise to stay healthy, but due to their small size, you won’t have to do much to assist them. This mouse will get plenty of activity in an enclosure with interesting activities (such as a wheel, tunnel, rope, and so on).

Purchasing Your African Dormouse

Because there aren’t many African dormice breeders in the United States, you may have to travel a long distance to find one. Some exotic animal rescue organisations may have African dormice, but this critter is difficult to find in general. You can get advice regarding where to get an African dormouse from your local exotic animal veterinarian. On average, expect to pay between $100 and $300.

Because these animals are more active in the morning and evening, plan your visit to coincide with those times. Look for a dormouse with bright eyes and shiny, clean fur that is alert. Make sure it’s being kept in sanitary surroundings to reduce the chances of bringing home a sick animal. Also, request detailed information about the animal’s origin, age, and health history from the vendor. Never bring a baby dormouse home that is less than 5 weeks old. At this age, it is not ready to be separated from its mother and may not flourish.

Pets that are similar to the African Dormouse

Check out these pets that are similar to the African dormouse:

Otherwise, look into other exotic animals as potential pets.

User Questions

Is an African dormouse hard to take care of?

Yes—The African dormouse is a hard-to-get exotic pet, and it also needs a lot of care, like a warm, safe place to live, a lot of food, and other specialised care.

Can you domesticate an African dormouse?

While African dormouse can survive in captivity, they are wild animals who thrive best in their native habitat. Domestication, in this case, refers to the capacity to hold your mouse, but not much else.

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How long does an African dormouse live as a pet?

Because of predators, an African dormouse can live up to five years as a pet, which is significantly longer than the lifetime they have in their natural habitat.

Do pygmy dormice make good pets?

African Pygmy Dormice are difficult to care for as pets since they require huge enclosures, a varied diet, and are extremely swift and nimble. They are not suitable for novices. Microsquirrels, African Dwarf Dormice, Woodland Dormouse, and Egyptian Dormice are all names for African Pygmy Dormice.

How much do African dormice weigh?

You can get advice regarding where to get an African dormouse from your local exotic animal veterinarian. On average, expect to pay between $100 and $300.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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