Fauna Toratau

Illustration №1. Common praying mantis. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Biology of the Ufa Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Illustration № 2. Photo courtesy of Faniz Ardislamov

The Shikhan Toratau is a habitat for an amusing animal — a russet ground squirrel, aka large-toothed souslik.

The russet ground squirrel (Spermophilus major Pallas, 1779) is a rodent from the genus of ground squirrels. Its body is up to 33 cm long, its tail is 10 cm. It weighs 1.4 kg. In size it has only been outrun by the yellow ground squirrel. The russet ground squirrel prefers to live in forb, cereal-forb, feather-grass and wormwood-fescue steppes, pastures, abandoned lands, roadsides and embankments, headlands and garden areas.

Interestingly, next to the hole there is usually no soil heaps, this animal seems to spread all the dug soil all over territory. Nutrition of the russet ground squirrel is comprised with wild and cultivated grains, forb herbs, sometimes insects. This animal doesn't stock up for winter. By the end of July — August they have gone in hibernatation. The hibernation begins in the late July or in August, lasts 6.5 — 8.5 months and ends in the late March, when there is still snow in some places.

Illustration №3. Photo courtesy of Faniz Ardislamov
Illustration No. 4. Photo courtesy of Alya Pogorelova

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The material was prepared jointly with the Institute of Biology of the Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)

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