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Common mole rat (Spalax microphthalmus)

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Common mole rat - This is a mammal animal that belongs to the order of rodents. During evolutionary development, all the organs of this animal have adapted to the underground way of life.

Eyes completely atrophied and lost the ability to see. This is almost the only case in the rodent consolation when there was a complete loss of vision. The lifestyle of these mammals is exclusively underground. Mole ratslike moles, they dig long labyrinths of passages, and they push the excess soil that interferes with them to the surface.

In the family mole rats, there are 4 species. Each of them has its own habitat. Animal mole rat He chooses for his living the steppes, deserts, forest-steppes and forest outskirts. Suitable soil should be of moderate density. Clay and sandy soil does not suit them. Their habitat includes forest-steppes and steppes of Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

The mole rat digs the earth with his teeth

These are mainly pastures or unplowed lands rich in grassy vegetation. Mole mole rat small in itself. Its length is 30-32 cm. Weigh from 700 g. up to 1 kg. He leads a fairly secluded lifestyle, so few people saw him live. To correct this mistake and have an idea of ​​the appearance of this animal, we bring to your attention several photo of mole rats.

As you can see in the image, he has no ears, his eyes hide under folds of skin, and his small tail is practically invisible. The limbs of this underground resident are short, and the head resembles a bayonet spade. By the way, digs its tunnels mole mole rat exclusively with teeth, not paws.

This happens as follows, the front incisors of a mammal bite into the soil, and then with the help of a shovel-shaped head, crushed lumps of earth are pushed out. The special structure of the jaw and muscles allows you to push the lower incisors and move them forward or backward.

Such work leads to significant wear of teeth mole rat. But do not worry, the incisors grow very quickly, so without this “tool” for digging their tunnels this underground resident will not remain. By the way, thanks to his work, he not only grinds cutters, but also grinds them when gnawing into the soil. More compassion deserve animals in captivity.

They have no opportunity to grind their teeth and sometimes they cannot close their mouths because the incisors have grown to enormous sizes. The fur of these giants is very soft, dark in color. The nose is covered with a keratinized layer of skin. It is this layer that is protective. It protects against various mechanical damage during ramming of the walls of the hole.

The nature and lifestyle of the mole rat

If moles loosen the soil with their front paws, then sand mole rats wielded with powerful incisors. Piles of land after their activity remain larger than that of moles, and reach about 0.5 m.

In the photo, a sand mole rat

The weight of one such pile can reach 10 kg. From 1 to 20 representatives of this species live on 1 ha of land. The most active period of life of these rodents falls in the spring months. In the summer and winter, they become less active, but do not fall into hibernation. The labyrinths of the moves of mole rats giants special in structure.

Their distinguishing feature is the tiered tunnel system. So, the top floor of "such a building" is considered food, it is located at a depth of 25 cm. At this level, rodents collect food: tubers, plant rhizomes. On the second floor there are tunnels, summer and winter nests and pantries. It is located more deeply - 3-4 m.

In winter, the entrance to these underground galleries is clogged with earth, and the animal lives here until the onset of warm times. The total area of ​​such labyrinths is 450 m. The number of food pantries in such territory can reach 10 pieces, and winter stocks can be 10 kg. Here is such a thrifty animal.

The lifestyle of giant mole rats is lonely. They carefully guard the borders of their territory. Sometimes, clashes between two males end in skirmishes over fatal territory. Their activities cause enormous damage to agriculture.

Signs of mole rat in the garden - This is a roller coaster of the earth. They not only spoil the aesthetic appearance of the site, but also destroy the crop. From these underground animals, corn, legumes, carrots, beets and potatoes are most affected. Only in a day, 1 individual is able to damage 4-6 bushes of root crops. Mole rat settled down on your site, how to deal with it?

You can get rid of such a pest by re-digging the soil. So destroy the aft tiers of their moves. It happens that they are repelled by an unpleasant odor, so you can use special purchased repellers. One option is to fight capture of a mole rat by hand. For this, a fresh entrance to the hole is determined and another entrance is sought. Then they dig a piece between them.

In the photo is a giant mole rat

This animal does not tolerate drafts, so it will try to eliminate the damage. It is at this moment that it will be possible to catch this pest. Kick out mole of mole rat possible with water. Find a mound of earth mixed with clay and pour water into a hole nearby.

Reproduction and longevity

Mole rats live Alone, but during the breeding season they form family groups. Such a family includes 1 male and 1-2 females. As a rule, members of such families live in the neighborhood. The male digs a tunnel to his beloved. He moves to the sounds that the female makes.

If there are 2 females in the group, then they breed in turn. One year is the first, the second is another. Such unions break up, only in the event of death. 2-3 babies are born per year. This is a significant event in the period from February to May.

The resettlement of the young generation is peculiar. So the “girls” are moved to the upper tiers a year after their appearance, and the “boys” - to the second year, to the lower floors. They become sexually mature in 2-3 years of life. Lifespan of mole rats is 2.5 to 9 years.

Distribution and abundance

Common mole rats inhabit the flat steppes, forest-steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga. Within the restored range, the northern border runs approximately from Kiev along the southern part of the Chernihiv region, the eastern part of the Kursk and Oryol regions, along the southern part of the Tula, Ryazan, Tambov region, Mordovia, Penza and Ulyanovsk regions. The extreme northeastern point of the find is Samara Luka (1,2). In the years 1967-1968. first found in the Chernavskaya forest cottage (sparse oak forest) of the Miloslavsky district. On an area of ​​200 hectares of oak groves, 14 sites with mole rat holes were counted, which indicated that no more than a few dozen individuals lived (3, 4). In 1989, one copy of the village was delivered to the regional sanitary and epidemiological station. Lakes of Miloslavsky district. The individual was removed from the unfinished well (5). In 2001, in the vicinity of. Voyeykovo Miloslavsky district marked emissions of land made by mole rat (6). In 2010, in the southeast of Chernavsky oak grove and the adjacent river valley. Panic, mole rats detected. 175 mole rats were recorded on an area of ​​1.5 ha; 6 burrowing systems were identified (7).

Habitats and biology

In the steppe zone, common mole rats predominantly settle along the slopes of gullies and other lowered areas of the relief with chernozem and chernozem chestnut soils, avoiding clay and sandy soils, as well as areas with a high standing level of groundwater. It settles on crops, especially perennial grasses, in gardens, in gardens and among field-protecting forest strips. In forest edges and marginal glades, it enters the outskirts of forests (8, 9). The predominant part of mole rats in the area of ​​Chernavsky oak grove in 2010 was in open habitats, and only in 2 cases were mole rats entering oak groves and pine planting 5-8 m (7). A polyphase daily activity is characteristic of a mole rat (10). Leads an underground lifestyle. Ground emissions are arranged in chains along the aft passages (length up to 170 cm) and have a base diameter of up to 50-60 cm. In the nest part of the hole, the number of residential chambers and chambers for reserves can reach 10, located at a depth of up to 3.5 m. It feeds mainly underground parts of plants, but sometimes they drag whole plants into holes and eat their leaves and stems. The total weight of stocks can reach 10-14 kg (8, 9). It breeds once a year, cubs are born from late February to mid-May. The average brood size is 2.7-2.9 (11).

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