[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
AN animal of the mouse kind, of the order of Glires. They build their nests either in the hollow of trees, or near the bottom of thick shrubs, and line them most industriously with moss, soft lichens, and dead leaves. Conscious of the length of time he has to pass in his solitary cell, the Dormouse is very nice in the choice of the materials he employs to build and furnish it; and generally lays up a store of food, consisting in nuts, beans, and acorns: and on the approach of cold weather they roll themselves in balls, their tail curled up over their head between the ears, and, in a state of apparent lethargy, pass the greatest part of winter, till the warmth of the sun, pervading the whole atmosphere, kindles their congealed blood and calls the animal back again to the enjoyment of life, the pursuit of love, and the duty of propagating his species. Except in time of breeding and bringing up the brood, the Dormouse is generally found alone in his cell.