I have run into this problem. When the data structure went above a certain size, the memory consumption went through the roof.
The solution/workaround is this:
local $Data::Dumper::Useqq = 1;
This will (among other things, perldoc it) make it use the pure Perl implementation which doesn't seem to have this problem.
Ok, it's slower for small data structures (so who cares?), but it works for large ones.
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