English language users in France should not confuse either the Loir or the Lérot with the Common dormouse Muscardinus Avellanarius Muscardin which is the only Gliridae (or Dormouse) that has full protection status in France.



Less common than Loir, they are found in similar habitats throughout the whole of France; they are sedentary and rarely travel more than 150 metres from their nest site. They are also less agile and not such good climbers. 

They are nocturnal, but can also be active around dawn and during daylight hours, with a diet that is more carnivorous than the Loir, eating insects, small mammals, baby birds, snails, lizards and eggs, as well as fruits and berries.

Their nest and its situation is much the same as the Loirs and they will also use bird nest boxes as the hole size is more suitable to them. Reproduction takes place in early summer and again later in the year, this is followed by a gestation period of about three weeks when 4 or 5 young are born.  

The hibernation period is the same as Loir and will often commence when the temperature is as high as 8° C. Heart beat can almost stop during hibernation and again they are subject to extremely high population losses as a result of predation during this period. Maximum life span is 5 years and although there isn’t much information available about them in the wild it’s likely that 2 or 3 years is more likely. They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list.


The Lérot is smaller than the Loir with a total maximum length of 27cm, has darker grey / brown fur on the back with a white underneath and white feet. They have large ears and a black band which runs from the nose though the eyes, hence the nickname "bandit". The tail has fine fur and terminates in a black and white tuft. 

They have true hibernation which, depending on region and temperature, is from October until April. They will loose half their body weight during this time which requires the build up of plenty of body fat in preparation; it is also when they are most vulnerable to predation with anything up to 80% being taken over winter. During hibernation body temperature can drop to 3.7° C and it takes them 30 minutes or more to wake up. Although maximum life span is 7 years this is rarely reached, 2 or 3 years being more usual. 

Their nest is usually oval, about 15cm in diameter and constructed from coarse vegetation with an entrance in the side, its lining is made from softer material, fur, feathers, moss and grass. It’s often made in a hollow tree, cavities in rock faces, stone walls, old squirrels nests or even lodged in the branches of trees. The same nest can be occupied by several individuals and it’s possible to find 50 or more in the same building. Reproduction is from June until August when, after a gestation period of about a month, they give birth to between 2 and 9 young.  

They are nocturnal with a diet consisting of mostly seeds, fruits, nuts and grains but will also eat insects and fungi, there is some suggestion that bird eggs may be occasionally taken.

The loir  is the largest of the European Dormice with fur that is grey or grey and brown with white fur underneath, grey bushy tail, eyes that are overall dark in colour and large ears. Overall length is 25cm to 34cm with body and tail being approximately equal. 

Although not considered common they are generally widespread in most of France except the Atlantic coastal regions and Brittany, they occupy a wide range of habitats, forests, copses, hedgerows, parks, orchards and buildings.

They are excellent climbers and have a possible territorial range of about 4 square kilometres, in practise they remain within about 200 metres of their nest site


Eliomys quercinus

Garden Dormouse

Loir gris

Myolux Glis / Glis Glis 
Edible or Fatty dormouse