Edible dormouse

Edible dormouse

The edible dormouse or fat dormouse (Glis glis) is a small dormouse and the only species in the genus Glis. It was farmed and eaten by the ancient Romans, from which it gains its name. The dormice were kept and raised either in large pits or (in less spacious urban surroundings) in terra cotta containers, the gliraria, not completely unlike contemporary hamster cages. The dormice would finally be cooked and eaten, usually as a snack.

To this day, wild edible dormice are consumed in Slovenia, where they are considered a rare delicacy and dormouse trapping an ethnic tradition. Use of dormice for food and fur and dormice fat as a medicament is documented since the 13th century. Seasonal dormice feasts were welcome protein supplements for the impoverished peasantry.

The edible dormouse lives in continental Europe and was accidentally introduced to the town of Tring, England through an escape from Lionel Walter Rothschild's private collection in 1902. As such, the edible dormouse population, now 10,000 strong, is concentrated in a 200-square-mile triangle between Beaconsfield, Aylesbury and Luton. Though regarded as a pest by some, in the United Kingdom the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits certain methods of killing and taking of this animal. A licence may be required for their removal, advice on which can be obtained from Wildlife Management and Licensing

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