The head and body of the garden dormouse are about 15 centimetres long, and its tail alone measures 10 centimetres. It weighs 100 grams and has a life expectancy of four to five years. It has greyish, brownish, reddish fur on its upper body with white below, a distinctive black mask on its face, and a black and white tip to its tail.
The garden dormouse lives in parks, orchards, gardens, coniferous and mixed forests, vineyards, rocky areas and buildings (such as barns). It can be found in Europe, Asia and Asia Minor in areas up to 2,500 metres in elevation.
The garden dormouse feeds on insects, spiders, centipedes, snails, lizards, eggs, wild and cultivated fruit and bark. A nocturnal animal, it climbs easily on walls and trees and jumps well. It hibernates from October to April in a nest in a tree hollow or building. It sleeps coiled, and during the hibernation period it survives on fats stored during the autumn.