Marmots

Marmots

are mammalian animals. They are representatives of a detachment of rodents, a family of squirrels. There are fifteen species of marmots, the ancestral home of which is the American continent. All marmots have the same common ancestor.

A significant part of scientists in Eurasia allocates eight species of marmots. Different species of these animals have inherent features of behavior only, which is associated with different geographical habitats. However, for all marmots, a common trait is typical of the occurrence of hibernation.

Marmots are herbivores. In the course of their life, marmots dig burrows. Almost all individuals live in the colonies. Marmots are endowed with warm fur.

Researchers distinguish mountain marmots (which live in the rather harsh conditions of the Alpine mountains) and plain marmots (also called baibaks).

The most important representative of marmots is a steppe marmot. The number of marmots in comparison with the eighteenth century has significantly decreased, which is connected both with the fishery of these animals and with the economic development of those territories where they lived.

Marmots build several types of burrows – temporary, which are necessary for shelter from danger, and permanent (or nesting). The latter have a very complex structure and can be used by more than one generation of animals.

Marmots live in large colonies in a certain territory, the size of which can reach two and a half hectares. Life marmot can be divided into two periods – the period of activity and hibernation.

The lifespan of marmots in their natural habitat is approximately eight years. Sexual maturity these animals reach to three years. Marmots are commercial animals (their fat and light fur are valued).

America is the birthplace of marmots.

Interesting is the fact that when many representatives of different species migrated from Asia to America for a long time, the marmots observed the opposite picture: they moved from America to different geographic zones. Despite the difference in behavioral characteristics in marmots living in unequal natural conditions, all individuals have a similar physiology of processes (in particular, the presence of hibernation), as well as external similarity.

Plain marmots are distant relatives of squirrels.

This is the case in taxonomy. The body length of the bobaks can reach sixty centimeters, and taking into account the tail, even seventy-five centimeters. The weight of marmots sometimes reaches ten and a half kilograms. Baibaks are endowed with an awkward, thick body and strong but short legs. Plain marmots have a flattened large head, planted on a short neck. The auricles are hardly noticeable. The front legs of the bobaks have large claws. The latter are necessary for marmots when digging holes. Since these animals often have to move around a heterogeneous or uneven terrain, to avoid getting injuries on the soles of their paws, the keratinized epidermis is well developed. Plain marmots in natural conditions move only in two ways. It’s a step and a gallop. At the same time, they can reach speeds of up to fifteen kilometers per hour.

Marmot wool has a uniform color.

As for the steppe marmots, this is practically the case. The predominant sandy-yellow color range is slightly differentiated by the black ripples on the back. Ripple elements thicken on the top of the head and at the occiput. The sides and cheeks of the marmot are light. The paws and the lower part of the animal’s body have a buffy-yellowish color. Under the eyes of plain bobaks there are black or brown pestriny. Lips of marmots are fringed with white hair. After the winter hibernation, marmots come out of their shelters with a lighter and harder coat. Moulting in bobaks is observed once a year. The moulting period is rather long-lasting in the first half of May, and the end in the second half of August. In this case, first of all, the fur on the back is replaced. Already after molting affects the sides, head, belly. The tail and legs shed the last.

Marmots are widespread.

This judgment was applicable until the end of the eighteenth century. At that time these animals inhabited the entire territory of the forest-steppe and steppe zone of the European part of the former USSR. Marmots often met and in the territory from Podolia to the left bank of the Irtysh. The economic activity of man has seriously undermined the number of marmots. Because of intensive hunting for marmots, as well as plowing of land, the habitats of these animals were divided into separate areas, rather isolated from each other – the largest sites were in the Samara, Ulyanovsk and Saratov Volga regions. The largest number of marmots was observed on the territory of the Volga Upland, as well as in the reserves “Streletskaya Steppe”, which is located on the territory of the Lugansk region and “Kamennaya Step”, which is located on the territory of the Voronezh region. The number of marmots was also great in some areas of the Rostov, Lugansk and Kharkov regions. At present, the number of these animals has significantly decreased, complete extermination was avoided thanks to the protection of marmots by the state and the prohibition of hunting for them. Now plain marmots live only in the form of separate colonies. In the European part, these animals are found in such places as Ukraine, the south of Ulyanovsk, the north-west of the Saratov and the south of the Voronezh regions. The virgin steppes of Northern Kazakhstan and the Trans-Urals are places where the steppe marmot occurs most often. Sometimes marmots can be found in the foothills and mountains of the Eastern Tien Shan and Altai. The number of steppe marmot on the territory of Russia has a stable tendency to increase the number of livestock – according to 2007 data, the number of plain marmots living on the territory of the Russian Federation was 352.1 thousand individuals.

Marmots form colonies.

These animals, in fact, live in large colonies for a fairly long period of time, as a rule, on the territories of feather grass, chernozem and hilly steppes, and in case of plowing as a result of human economic activity, marmots migrate to the nearest virgin land. Another variant of the new residence of these animals are the borders of pastures, the unbuttoned slopes of the gullies, the roadsides of the village roads. Obligatory conditions that new habitats must have are the following: first, the availability of food resources, and secondly, the prevention of the presence of areas with a high groundwater table in the populated area. The size of the site on which the marmot colony resides is directly dependent on the availability and size of the forage reserve. The size of such a site can reach two and a half hectares, and marmots mark the territory with the help of secretions of the postorbital glands and excrement.

Baibaks are digging several kinds of holes.

The burrows of plain marmots are subdivided into permanent and temporary burrows, the depth of which can reach up to four to five meters. Constant burrows can be divided into burrows intended for the summer period and burrows intended for the winter period. Constant burrows are very complicated. In view of this, several generations can use the same hole. The number of holes leading to the permanent burrow of a marmot, as a rule, varies from twelve to fifteen. Far from permanent burrows, these animals build shallow temporary or protective burrows that are designed to shelter animals at the time of danger, although sometimes marmots simply spend the night in them. Especially temporary burrows are useful in the event that danger has overtaken marmots far from a permanent (or nest) burrow. The entrance to the permanent burrow is usually wiped off with animal hair and somewhat enlarged. Thus, you can even draw an analogy with the funnel. This expansion is necessary for animals to inspect nearby areas when they come to the surface. The course to the hole reaches thirty centimeters in width and about twenty centimeters in height.The main tunnel of the burrow slopes down (about two meters), then turns either to the left or to the right; in addition, it separates several small moves, ending in a dead end. Their animals are used as a toilet. At a depth of about two or three meters there is a sleeping chamber (the so-called pocket). This is an enlarged depression with dimensions of approximately 50 X 100 centimeters, in which plain marmots drag roots and dry grass. Those holes, which have a particularly complex structure, often have several similar chambers at once. Their difference from each other is in different sizes. The moves of the marmot northerners can form several floors. In front of the entrance there is a mound. It is formed from an ejected subsoil, which has a lighter color, compared to the surrounding ground. This mound is also called a whorl, whose height reaches from forty to one hundred centimeters. In the diameter, the size of the ground coat varies from three to ten meters.

The life of a marmot can be divided into two periods.

These are the periods of activity and hibernation, from which marmots come out in the beginning of spring. By the end of the summer, plain marmots become very fat, and in the late summer or early autumn they fall asleep, which is carried out by whole groups in the nest chamber. In this case, before hibernation in the hibernation marmots block all the exits with dense plugs, so the temperature in the hole even in severe frosts exceeds zero degrees. During hibernation, all life processes in these animals slow down. The temperature of the body of marmots is reduced to a level of 4.6-7.6 ° C. The breathing of these animals is reduced to two or three breaths per minute. The number of heartbeats decreases to three to fifteen. In the period of hibernation, plain marmots are in a state of stupor, which is maintained by the accumulation of fat in the summer. Baibaks lie, practically not moving, and do not eat anything. During hibernation, the bobak loses about a third of its weight. Awakening after winter hibernation lasts for only a few hours, after which the animal begins to intensively fatten. After winter hibernation the marmot begins restoration work in those places where the required burrow arrangement has been violated. Marmots are active during the day.

During feeding, some marmots carry a patrol.

This happens in turn. When the slightest danger arises, the marmot, who is “on duty”, makes a loud whistle. After that, he hides in the nearest hole, and his example is followed by all the other individuals, previously warning others. Baibaks sit for a while in the burrow, and then with great caution appear on the surface.

Marmots are characterized by daytime sleep.

At noon they rest and sleep in holes dug beneath the earth, and when the sun begins to roll over the horizon, these animals reappear on the surface. They eat and rest near their burrows (on the groundworms). In the spring, plain marmots are more active in the second half of the day.

Marmots often freeze in a posture of a column.

First, this posture is characteristic of marmots, when they carry a watch during feeding. Secondly, the marmot often freezes in this form when committing intermittent dashes. When a marmot escapes from danger, it can do so at a fairly high speed. At the same time, he often falls in belly near the ground and on the way to his hole often changes the direction of movement.

Sexual maturity of the bobak is reached by the age of three.

There are times when marmots were ready to mate already two years after the birth. The beginning of the mating season in these animals occurs at the time of their awakening after hibernation. Pregnancy in female marmots lasts approximately thirty-thirty-five days, after which three to six naked and blind people (they begin to see about the twenty-third day of life) appear on the light, whose length varies from nine to eleven centimeters. Their weight is only thirty or forty grams. Thus, the weight of the calves is equal to 1% of the weight of his mother.Cubs within fifty days receive milk from the mother, for this period the male moves to another burrow. In principle, the waggies already on the fortieth day of life are fully able to feed on grass independently, and young marmots do not mind frolic on the surface within a month after birth. Approximately two to three days after the young begins to come to the surface, the instincts of the “watchmen” awaken in him, which means that the young people also begin to take the posture of the post. In the event of danger, the worms, like adults, begin to whistle and twitch their tail. Cubs are with their parents until next summer. After this begins a more independent life of these animals, including, among other things, burrowing burrows – however, for the second winter, marmots again spend with their parents. It is worth noting the fact that inside the population of bobaks are extremely peaceful animals. Marmots can get involved in a fight with other animals only if they are in danger.

The lifespan of marmots in their natural habitat is approximately eight years.

This is so. However, quite a few young marmots perish from the clutches of predators. In addition, the enemies of these animals include foxes, dogs, wolves, birds of prey, and also humans.

Marmots are “pluckers.”

To this category, they can be attributed to the nature of consumption of green fodder. Baibaks do this as follows. They selectively bite plants on a considerable area. Because of this selectivity, the vegetation cover is not disturbed. Marmots are more likely to eat juicy and young plants – and in the summer, when the sun is especially hot, marmots often go far from their holes in search of juicy grass. The need for the same bobaks in the water is completely satisfied by the moisture that is present in the plants (therefore, the bobaks are quite sensitive to a decrease in moisture in them), and also the morning dew. Marmots relatively mildly chew food, and during the day can eat up to one kilogram of green mass. This is mainly motley grass and plant roots. By the way, in the stomach of bobaks quite often small pieces of plants are found. If succulent plants are not available, for example, as a result of a steppe fire, then the bobaks lie dormant long before the nature’s deadlines.

Marmot often becomes a pet’s pet.

Large size of a marmot attracts a person and often forces him to get this animal in his apartment. However, do not forget that this is a very important step and before you commit it, you need to think over all the details of the marmot’s stay in the apartment. In addition to the need to comply with all conditions of feeding, walking and keeping the animal in general, an important aspect is the need for hibernation. The latter requires a lot of manpower and time, since it is still difficult to organize this process correctly. With marmots not satisfying the content, the bobaks can not only get themselves injured, but also cause considerable damage to human health. And they may not even come out of hibernation.

The cage in which the marmot contains is to have strong metal rods.

This is due to the fact that, for example, plastic rods will be blasted by a marmot lightning fast. In addition, the bobaks can not be kept in glass aquariums, boxes, wicker baskets, plywood boxes, etc. The most suitable cell size, in which marmots will live, should be as follows. The length of the cell should not be less than 65 centimeters, in width – 55 centimeters, and in height – 65 centimeters. Dimensions of the door are recommended such as 41×43 cm. The door should be endowed with either a lock or a strong lock. Otherwise, the baibaks will open it with the help of their clever paws. In order for the marmot to go to the toilet in the established place, it is necessary to install in the cage either a special tray or a pallet.For the bobaks, the physiological need for shelter is peculiar, therefore, its cell should contain a soft lounger, rags, etc. if possible. In addition, in no case should the cell be placed under direct sunlight, and also placed near the heater or battery, as well as under the air conditioner. If the apartment is not insulated well, and the floor is “walked” by drafts, then the cell is best placed on a small elevation. The marmot must always have access to water, so you need to install a dispenser (drinking bowl) on the wall of the cage. As for a bowl of food, it can be placed in a cage for the marmot only for the period of feeding (by the way, it should be done at least twice a day). Overfeed the bobak is impossible, because in nature marmots during the day eat very often.

Marmots are vegetarians.

In natural habitat for the bait habitats, they eat only plant food – these are parts of plants (shoots, leaves, flowers), as well as succulent grass mixtures. The content of a bobak in an apartment can include a variety of bread (fresh), various fruits (pears, apples, bananas, persimmons, etc. except exotic ones) and vegetables (Bulgarian pepper, fresh cucumbers, beets, carrots) in its diet. Marmots can be given dill, parsley, leaf salad, etc. Just do not forget that all of the above products must always be washed under running water and monitor their quality. A significant portion of the bobaks are fastidious animals. From this it follows that it is desirable to make a diet for the marmot as diverse as possible. In the spring and summer months, marmots can also be fed with their own hand by ripped plants, before washing they also need to be washed. The only thing that needs to be paid attention is the fact that there are no poisonous plants among the torn plants. Baibakov should never be given any products of animal origin (that is, meat, poultry, fish and seafood).

Marmots are very curious animals.

Baibaki during the walk around the apartment try to climb everywhere, wherever possible – in cabinets, corners, cracks, etc .; but also without such a walk marmots can not be left. They are very important for the physical and social development of marmot; the frequency of such walks should be at least two times a day, and the duration – at least one hour a day. However, baibas not only like to climb around the objects of the environment, but also try them on their own teeth, so when the bobak decides on the most liked places in the apartment, then there should be scribed those things that are no longer a pity. This is necessary in order for the animal to satisfy its physiological need to tear something or chew it. Baibaki do not mind climbing on the beds, while burrowing into the blankets that are on them. In this marmots simply satisfy another natural need – digging holes and shelters. Control every step of the animal during a home walk is just necessary. Otherwise, it can end very tragically. And since the marmot can start to gnaw anything, then before the outing, it is necessary to close all the sockets, remove any wires and wiring. The activity of the animal becomes noticeably less as it approaches hibernation. The animal begins to gain weight heavily and devotes more time to sleep.

Groundhog can not be washed.

It’s just unlikely that out of this procedure a person will be the winner. Groundhogs are so much afraid of water that when swimming they begin to bite, scream and try their best to break free. Baibak does not need to bathe at all, because this animal is cleaned by itself. If dirt accumulates on his wool, then the marmot bites it. The only thing that a person should do when keeping a bobak is to wipe it with wet napkins, if necessary, and comb it with a brush.

Man must create all conditions for hibernation hibernation.

The best place, which is not heated, but also protected from rain and wind, is a balcony (possibly a loggia) where a pet house should be installed. As the latter is very suitable for a normal box of lining with a lid. The minimum dimensions are as follows: height and width – fifty centimeters, length – seventy five centimeters. In addition, the winter shelter marmot must have a lock or strong lock and be filled with wood shavings or hay. The temperature in the marmots’ houses for the period of hibernation should not exceed three to four degrees Celsius (and be maintained at this very level). In addition to preparing a hut for hibernation, it is necessary to prepare the animal itself. In the natural conditions of marmot habitat due to some factors feel the approach of hibernation. These are factors such as the weight gained before the necessary norm, a decrease in the fodder base, a decrease in the air temperature. In view of this, a person must ensure that the marmots in the new habitat created for him also realize the necessity of hibernation soon. For this, you need about two to three weeks before it (you can determine this period by the behavior of the animal – the marmot becomes sluggish, its motor activity decreases and the appetite disappears), stop feeding and watering the animal. In addition, the cell with it should be covered with material (so that the marmot understands that the light day has significantly decreased) and in this form for about two hours take out to fresh air. If a marmot is planted, a person does not intend to put it into hibernation, then it is better not to start a bobak. Otherwise, the animal, not satisfying its physiological need, will simply fall ill and may even die.

Marmots are commercial animals.

Fat marmots are prized, as well as their light but warm fur. In natural conditions, they are caught with the help of a loop and a trap. The weapon also becomes a way of hunting marmots. Interesting is the fact that the bobaks are able to see the approach of a person at a distance of even four hundred meters.

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