Torpor in Dormice

Dormouse in torporDormouse in torpor

One night, we discovered one of the elderly african pygmy dormice in a state of torpor. Eyes were barely open, body temperature very low, movements sluggish. I picked her up and warmed her in my hands for some time. She refused to let go of me.

I didn't have high hopes, as this girl wasn't even wanting to lick maple syrup from my finger. We put her in a hospital tank, gave her a heat pad, easy food and drink to get at, and hoped.

She's still with us! Looking a lot brighter and has eaten a small amount. She's an older one, but the signs are promising.

Not the best photo, but I've tried to show the difference in this image. If you find it useful, please share. Lots of animals can struggle as the temperature drops and some exotics are especially vulnerable to this. African Pygmy Dormice are one species that needs additional heating but there are many others that will need this. 

Torpor can happen at any season,watch out for any sudden drops in temperature. Using your own body heat can be a quick way to help, warming an animal in your hands or for larger ones putting them in a pocket in your jumper. Portable heatpads such as snuggle safes are useful.

A low-cost and easy way to help is also to take a sock, fill with rice and knot at the top. This can be heated safely in a microwave for a minute or until a good temperature and can be placed by the animal to help.




Christine, of Crittery Exotics

Crittery Exotics was setup in 2007 to pro­vide a use­ful resource regard­ing com­mon and exotic rodents and small mam­mals. It is run by volunteers in their spare time around work and family life.

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