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(dormice and hazel mice), a family of mammals of the order Rodentia. Some zoologists classify the mammals as a suborder. Fossil remains are known from the Oligocene. The body length ranges from 9 to 20 cm. The tail, which is usually slightly shorter than the body, is bushy in the majority of arboreal species and thinly haired in terrestrial species. The coloration of the upperparts is usually ochre-brown or gray.
There are six genera, distributed in the forests and forest steppes of Eurasia and in the forests and savannas of Africa and Japan. The USSR has five species, belonging to five genera: the common dormouse (Glis glis), the tree dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), the hazel mouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), and the mouselike dormouse (Myomimus personatus). In the USSR these five species are found as far east as the Urals and as far south as Southwest Asia, Middle Asia, and Western Altai. In the mountains the mammals are found at elevations to 3,500 m among rocks and sparse shrubbery.
Most dormice and hazel mice are crepuscular forest animals that live in tree hollows or in nests. The mammals feed on fruits and seeds. The winter is spent in dormancy. In some regions the mammals are destructive to orchards.