News London Retailer To Sell Unusual Pet



London retailer to sell unusual pet
11th December 2013

By Sandra Pearce

A London retailer will soon be selling an unusual pet, the squirrel-like edible dormouse (Glis glis).

Laurie Traquair, owner of The Pet Shop (London), in Hackney, said her 12 dormice were captive-bred and reared in Slovenia, and that she had veterinary certificates of health and proof of origin.

She told pbwnews: “I am very excited about this. They are so cute and lovable. It is a really big project for me, and it’s the first time that I am aware anyone is selling these dormice legally in this country.”

The Slovenian breeder had called Laurie out of the blue and explained that she was looking for a distributor in the UK. Laurie, who has been in the pet trade for 38 years and sells a large range of animals, agreed.

The Edible dormouse, also called the Fat dormouse, is native to Western Europe, but there is a small population of an estimated 10-15,000 animals mainly confined to the Chilterns, within 25 miles from Tring, Hertfordshire. The animals were initially part of a wildlife collection there, but some escaped.

The Hazel dormouse is the only dormouse native to the UK.

The Edible dormouse is the largest of all dormice at 14-19cm, with its bushy tail an additional 11-13cm. It used to be eaten by ancient Romans, hence the use of the word ‘edible’, though they are still eaten today in Slovenia, where they are considered a delicacy.

All the dormice Laurie has for sale are males as the breeder has kept the females. Each comes with a price tag of £395.

In the wild, the dormice eat nuts, acorns, leaves, fruit, beetles, and bird eggs or fledglings. In captivity, owners can feed them hamster food with extra vegetables and nuts, she says.

Laurie is currently looking at different ways of advertising these unusual pets – her first attempt on Gumtree was rejected on grounds of ‘rules and regulations’.

“I’m learning as I go along as this is all new to me as well,” she said.