The dormouse (Muscardinus Avellanarius) is an arboreal mammal that, although once common, is now an endangered species in the British Isles. Similar in appearance to the common mouse, dormice have long bushy tails used to assist in climbing trees. They are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, berries, flowers, nuts and insects.
Lewis Carroll, the writer, included a dormouse in the Alice in Wonderland stories and portrayed it as a fat lazy creature. This is not far from the truth as the dormouse (named from the Latin Dormeus or "sleepy one") spends more than three quarters of its life asleep.
Due to the human destruction of its traditional habitats, the dormouse is in decline.
Dormice have also been considered as something of a delicacy since Roman times. Dormice were prized as a foodstuff in ancient Rome, either as a savoury appetizer or as a dessert (dipped in honey and poppy seeds). The Romans had a special kind of terracotta jar known as a "gliraria" used to rear dormice for the table.