The adorable snoring dormouse (video)

[Video Link]

Things I did not know before viewing this adorable video shot by Surrey Wildlife Trust Mammal Project Officer Dave Williams:

1) The dormouse, a little rodent species you'll find in Britain, hibernate in the winter in nests they hide on the ground.

2) The dormouse spends up to one-third of its life in hibernation, and typically begin that winter "sleep" when the first frost hits, and their food sources are gone.

3) They lose about a quarter of their body weight during hibernation.

4) The word "dormouse" comes from the Anglo-Norman dormeus, which means "sleepy (one)"

You can donate to support the Surrey Wildlife Trust's nature conservation work here.

(via @joeljohnson, photo: Dave Williams, Surrey Wildlife Trust)


  1. I would’ve immediately thought respiratory illness. I’ve never heard my rats and mice make sounds like this otherwise. But I’m sure the  Surrey Wildlife Trust Mammal Project knows what that sounds like.

    Also, dorperson: one who sleeps one-third of one’s life away. Oh wait! :D

    They really are sleepy!

    1. Isn’t that true of everybody? I mean the recommended amount of time you sleep is 8 out of 24 hours, now I am hardly a maths genius, but isn’t that a 3rd of the day?

      1. Yes, but I think that the correct statement is that they hibernate 1/3 of their lives, not sleep. Presumably they sleep at least 1/3 of the time the aren’t hibernating. That puts sleep+hibernation at more than 5/9 of their lives or an average of more than 13 hours a day.

  2. “The dormouse, a little rodent species you’ll find in Britain”…

    Actually, there are several species of dormice throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. The one most commonly found in Britain is the Hazel dormouse:
    This is the one the Surrey Dormouse project focuses on. There’s also a small population of another species, the edible dormouse (Glis glis), in central England.

    1. Thanks, but if this is suggested as a copy correction (?), it’s unnecessary. I wrote this post well aware that dormouse species exist elsewhere. The fact that “you’ll find [them] in Britain” doesn’t mean you won’t find them in other parts of the world, also.

      1. God Xeni, this is almost as cute as the dormouse – in a tetchy, you haven’t caught me out, defensive kind of way.

        1. ‘Cats, an interesting species you’ll find in many areas of the world . . . ” sounds just as odd, because it assumes that the audience doesn’t know what a cat is, which is absurd. 

      1. The Romans thought so at least — they didn’t just eat dormice because they were around but went to the trouble of actually *farming* them.

  3. Another thing: the Hazel dormouse is indigenous to Britain but is also found on the European continent as far as Turkey and Russia.

    /biology nerd

  4. While watching the video, the google ad that floated up asked “Do you suffer from sleep apnea?”  Coincidence?

    1. Hardly… “snoring” is in the video’s very title, and “sleep apnea” is in many of the comments, including the top-rated one. You think Google’s ad algorithms don’t know that?

  5. Soft Dormouse, warm dormouse
    Little ball of fur
    Happy dormouse, Sleepy Dormouse
    Snore, snore, snore. 

  6. Phenomenal.
    I’m flashing hard on A.A.  Milne’s “The Dormouse and the Doctor”.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  7. at sam1148

      Is that Burns?  It sounds sorta familiar…  English rustic.  And why has noone called Xeni to task for misuse of loose vs. lose???  Oh, everyone’s brain snogging to the cuteness…  mmmm.  :) 

  8. Okay, I think we’ve hit a saturation point. May as well redefine “lose” to be spelled “loose” and just be done with it.

    “Eye have a spelling chequer,
    It came with my Pea Sea.
    It plane lee marks four my revue
    Miss Steaks I can knot sea.”

    1. Loosing things is one of my pet peeves, but I have found that pedantry is a crucifiable crime here on boingboing.  Thank you for bringing it up.  Cory, care to try and argue this one?  If it can be accomplished without the attempt, I would like to see it.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

      1. The snag is that pretty much anything you can lose, you can also loose (presumably just a bit more quickly). So the transgressor might always claim that’s what they meant. You know they’re trying to save face, but they might not be, so you can’t call ’em on it.

  9. We had one as a class pet when I was 9. Pretty awesome little critters. Surprisingly friendly and willing to be handled for rodents. They also hang upside down from their tails regularly if I remember correctly. Its pretty groovy.

  10. I just got here. “Loosing weight” makes me think of a Thanksgiving dinner gone horribly wrong.

    1. “You might just as well say ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe'” – Lewis Carroll

  11. If they just lie around asleep on the ground for four months, how come they’re not all just wolfed down by something larger and wide awake? (Though I do know, @irened, that there aren’t any wild wolves in Britain anymore.)

  12. The guy holding the dormouse is probably thinking to himself, “Dang it. You never have a mouse trap when you need one.”

  13. Semi-relevant, and too cool to not share, having been reminded of it: One of the best short stories Kipling ever wrote IMO is ostensibly a children’s tale, framed in a story about a dormouse which is shown to children, like this, but not given to them to keep in a cage because that would be cruel. It is called The Tree of Justice, from Rewards and Fairies. I lack the eloquence to do it justice, but it is only nominally a children’s story. The sort of thing you like as a kid and realize decades later had a whole lot more to it than you first saw. It is wise and educational historical fiction, a pointed comment about human rights and dignity and realpolitik and loyalty and such things, a lively drama of difficult choices and loyalties, an interesting window into what was commonplace in Kipling’s time. I can’t say much more without spoilers, but honestly I think it’s one of his best works, well worth a read, it’s not long. It’s a story that somehow should be a Johnny Cash song. (Don’t miss the transition out of normal reality when Puck shows up, they establish that in earlier stories so it’s easy to miss in this if you read it alone.)

  14. My first thought was that the poor little thing must have sleep apnea to be snoring that loud. Do dormice (dormouses?) usually snore like that?

    Edit: I see I’m not the only one with sleep apnea on the mind.

  15. So. . .  as a consequence of this thread, I found myself reading the wikipedia page about edible dormice. . .

    It was farmed and eaten by the ancient Romans (usually as a snack)

    I have never been more aware of my deep appreciation for living in an era where one might simply buy a bag of potato chips.

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