About animals

Large jerboa (earthen hare)

Pin
Send
Share
Send


The largest among jerboas. He has a relatively short body (18.7-26 cm long), a tail 1.3 times longer than the body (25-30.5 cm). Body weight more than 300 g. The head is rounded with a well-defined neck interception. The muzzle is slightly elongated, but wide, ending with a patch. The ears are relatively short, 57-59 mm high. Feet are long, reach 45% of the body length.

The color of the upper back varies from brownish-ocher or brownish-gray to pale sandy. Cheeks are light, almost white. The throat, chest, abdomen, forearms, and also the inner surfaces of the hips are pure white. The hips are rusty yellow on the outside, and a transverse white stripe runs along them. The tail “banner” is two-color with a black base and white top, well developed, has the shape of a bird feather.

Geographic dimorphism is characteristic: towards the south, the auricles of jerboas become longer, and the color of the back brightens from north to south and from west to east.

Spread

Large jerboa is distributed from forest steppes to semi-deserts and the northern part of the desert zone in Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan and in the south of Western Siberia. Penetrates north further than other species of jerboas.

The habitats of large jerboa are diverse. In the north of the range, it keeps open areas with sparse grass stand. In the steppe zone, it is usual along roadsides of dirt roads, field edges, on pastures, along gentle slopes of beams and ravines. In the steppes of Kazakhstan and Western Siberia, low-grass meadows with solonetzic soils, the shores of salt lakes and steppe rivers, and the edges of pine forests inhabit the steppes. In deserts it is not found only on moving sands; it prefers areas with light loamy soils.


Large jerboa belongs to omnivorous rodents - in its diet, plant (seeds, roots, bulbs) and animal insects of the feed can be equally present. On agricultural lands, a large jerboa often collects sown seeds of watermelon and melon, also feeds on grains of cultivated cereals, sunflower seeds, peas, but the damage is insignificant.

Life cycle

A large jerboa emerges from hibernation in mid-March-April. One strongly extended breeding season is characteristic, whose peak falls on April-June. Broods in a year 1-2, pregnancy lasts about 25 days. In a brood from 1 to 8, usually 3-6 cubs. They live with a female for up to 1.5 months. They reach puberty in the 2nd year of life.

In the fall, with the onset of constant frost, jerboas hibernate. This usually happens in September, less often in October. The duration of hibernation in different regions ranges from 4 to 6 months.

Description.

Small animal: body length up to 26 cm, tail up to 30 cm, body weight 260415 g. Head relatively short and wide. The color of the upper body is from brownish-gray to pale sandy-gray with reddish tones, the belly and lower part of the limbs are white, the hips are rusty yellow on the outside, and a white stripe enters them from behind. The “banner” of the tail is well developed, the black field below is solid, in front of it there is no light ring. In the karyotype, 2n = 48.

Features of biology and ecology.

It inhabits desert steppes, semi-deserts and deserts, with the exception of sandy ones. In areas with dense soil and rare vegetation, it is widely distributed in the steppe zone (especially west of the Volga), penetrates the forest-steppe and even the southern part of the taiga zone (Western Siberia). Here he settles on the slopes of the beams of river valleys, roadsides, on the boundaries and pastures.

It independently digs holes: permanent and temporary. Lives alone. May occupy abandoned gopher burrows. Leads a twilight and nightlife. It feeds mainly on seeds, underground parts of plants and their young shoots, insects.

The female brings 1 litter per year, in the brood there are usually 34 cubs, up to a maximum of 8. The population density can reach 58 ap./ha. The number and trends of its change. The habitat has declined significantly and continues to decline.

Limiting factors. Reduction of habitable areas due to changes in agricultural use patterns. Weak replenishment of the population by young individuals due to the low breeding rates and slow development of young individuals.

Taken and necessary security measures. Protected in the Voronezh region. since 1994 Creation of protected areas in key habitats of the species is required.

Origin of the species

The large jerboa belongs to the rodentia rodent order and is a member of the five-fingered jerboa family. According to historical data, the ancestors of modern jerboas inhabited the planet almost from the time it began to be populated. It is scientifically proven that during the Oligocene period they really already existed on our planet, and that’s 33-24 million years ago!

Presumably the ancient predecessors of jerboas from Asian territory migrated to the territory of northern Africa, as well as to Europe. To date, there are practically no representatives of this species in Europe. Externally, jerboas are very similar to ordinary gray mice. About five dozen of these amazing animals are found in nature.

Description

Large jerboa - the largest among jerboas. He has a relatively short body (18.7-26 cm long), a tail 1.3 times longer than the body (25-30.5 cm). Body weight more than 300 g. The head is rounded with a well-defined neck interception. The muzzle is slightly elongated, but wide, ending with a patch. The ears are relatively short, 57-59 mm high. Feet are long, reach 45% of the body length. The hind legs of these rodents are long and strong. With their help, jerboas jump to a distance of three meters! This is 20 times the length of the body of the animal.

The color of the upper back varies from brownish-ocher or brownish-gray to pale sandy. Cheeks are light, almost white. The throat, chest, abdomen, forearms, and also the inner surfaces of the hips are pure white. The hips are rusty yellow on the outside, and a transverse white stripe runs along them. The tail “banner” is two-color with a black base and white top, well developed, has the shape of a bird feather.

Geographic dimorphism is characteristic: towards the south, the auricles of jerboas become longer, and the color of the back brightens from north to south and from west to east.

Where does the big jerboa live?

This representative of the family of five-fingered jerboas lives on the territory of the steppe zones. A hundred years ago, these animals lived all the way from the west of Ukraine to the autonomous zone of China. To date, the habitat of the animal is significantly reduced due to the destruction of the natural zones of its residence by humans.

Geographical distribution zones of large jerboa:

  • territory of eastern Europe,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Western regions of Siberia,
  • foot of the Tien Shan mountain,
  • the foot of the Caucasus mountain ranges,
  • Northern regions of the Black Sea coast,
  • northern regions of the Caspian Sea,
  • foot of the Altai mountains.

As places to stay choose the territory of the steppes, forest-steppes. They shun plowed, used for agricultural land lands. In such territories jerboas cannot create a full-fledged dwelling for themselves. They prefer hard ground areas. You can also often find a big jerboa in the coastal zones of salt bodies of water, steppe rivers. Characterized by resettlement in the mountains. Individuals can rise to a height of one and a half thousand meters above sea level.

Large jerboas like flat areas with a single vegetation, meadows, cannons of pine forests. They are considered unpretentious animals in terms of climate and weather, as well as natural conditions.

What eats a big jerboa?

Large jerboas are considered herbivores. It is noteworthy that the appearance of the tail indicates the abundance of food, the state of health and fatness. If the tail is thin and the vertebrae are visually visible, the animal is exhausted and lives almost starving. If the tail looks round and well-fed, the animal does not lack food. Every day, the animal is required to consume at least 50-70 grams of food, depending on weight.

The basis of the diet of a large jerboa are:

  • Cereal
  • Insect larvae,
  • Fruit,
  • Seeds
  • Roots of various types of vegetation.

It is noteworthy that these little animals do not drink water. They consume the required amount of fluid from the vegetation. Jerboas are able to travel long distances in search of food. They move mainly along the paths previously examined. Able to walk up to ten kilometers. Animals love to enjoy goose onions, seed peas, bluegrass, melons, watermelons.

Animals are not very picky about food. In the absence of favorite ingredients, they can eat almost everything that gets in their way.

They are considered a very important link in the natural habitat in which they live. They spread seeds in the territory of their movement, control the number of insects in this area. However, at the same time, they can be carriers of dangerous infectious diseases. Diet can vary significantly depending on the season. In the spring they prefer to eat young shoots, lush green vegetation. If there are agricultural areas nearby, dig up the fields in search of seeds laid in the ground.

Features of character and lifestyle

Large jerboa refers to single animals. They tend to show the greatest activity at night. In the daytime, they mostly hide in shelters made - minks. Leave them in the daytime extremely rarely. Jerboa burrows are horizontal corridors 5-6 meters long. At the end of the corridor there is an expansion in the form of a nesting chamber.

In the northern regions often occupied by free gopher houses. Shelter depth is determined by seasonality. In summer and spring, burrows are dug at a depth of 50-110 centimeters, in winter - 140-220 centimeters. In the daytime, the animals enter the entrance hole into their shelter with earth. The long tunnel has several spare inlets that open almost on the surface of the earth.

The main role in the construction of shelters falls on the front incisors. The limbs perform an auxiliary function. The excavated earth moves with the nose, in the same way as in pigs. Large jerboas hibernate. They hide in a mink for hibernation with the onset of cold weather and the first frosts. Hibernation ends at the end of March.

To transfer the winter period allow fat reserves concentrated in the tail region. During this period, some individuals lose up to 50% of their body weight. It is noteworthy that after awakening the ears of the animals are omitted. They rise only when blood circulation and muscle tone are restored.

Jerboa tend to lead a solitary lifestyle. It is noteworthy that they perfectly take root in captivity. Cases of domestication are common, moreover, sometimes a person starts two or more individuals that get along well with each other. Jerboa move exclusively on the hind limbs. Run at a trot, can move, pushing alternately one and the second lower limbs. At the same time, the tail maintains balance and acts as a rudder. Jerboa can run very fast.

They are considered one of the fastest runners. They reach speeds of up to 50 km / h, and are able to run at this pace for more than two kilometers. It is characteristic that large jerboa champions in high jump. With their growth, they make jumps in height up to three meters, which exceeds the length of their own body by almost ten times. Animals are naturally endowed with keen hearing and sense of smell.

Social structure and reproduction

The period of marriage begins with the end of hibernation. The beginning of such a period is considered the end of March, the beginning of April. The period of marriage continues until the fall. Jerboas are capable under favorable conditions to give offspring up to three times a year. Such fecundity can quickly restore endangered populations in some regions. Pregnancy lasts a short period of time - 25-27 days. One female is able to produce from 1 to 6-7 babies. Most often, the offspring appears in the spring.

The cubs spend the first one and a half to two months in shelter with their parents. At the end of this period, they begin to lead a separate lifestyle. Cubs understand that it is time for them to separate from their parents when the female becomes aggressive and no longer cares. A signal for this behavior is a lack of space in the hole, as well as a significant increase in the weight of the offspring. Individuals who have reached 5-7 months of age are recognized as mature. The main part of the care for the offspring is taken by the female.

Females prepare a place for childbirth, digging a separate hole. Cubs are born completely helpless. They do not see anything, they have no hairline. Outwardly, they resemble rats.

Natural enemies of the big jerboa

Under natural conditions, these little rodents have many enemies.

Enemies in the wild:

  • Reptiles
  • Snakes
  • Predator birds,
  • Some varieties of lizards,
  • Wolves
  • Lynx
  • Foxes

Despite the fact that jerboas lead a hidden lifestyle, and go out only at night, they often become prey of predators. The greatest danger to jerboas is represented by snakes, as well as owls, which hunt mainly at night. Rodents are distinguished by excellent hearing and acute sense of smell. Thanks to this, they are able to feel the danger when it is still far away. Feeling the threat, the animals quickly run away. Special mink shelters help to avoid danger to them.

Swiftly reduces the population of animal human activities. The development of territories and the destruction of the natural habitat of rodents leads to the destruction of animals.

Population and species status

In general, it cannot be said that the species of rodents is on the verge of extinction. However, in Russia and Ukraine, these animals are almost exterminated. In many regions of Russia, a large jerboa is listed in the Red Book: Moscow, Lipetsk, Tambov, Nizhny Novgorod regions. He is assigned the status of a vulnerable species.

Protection of a large jerboa

In order to preserve the species, a set of measures is being developed to increase the number of populations. In the regions of the rodent, it is listed in the Red Book. Development of territories, plowing of land, and grazing of livestock is prohibited in this territory.

Big jerboa considered an amazing animal. Many people successfully turn them on at home. They quickly get used to new conditions and become manual.

The maintenance of a large jerboa in captivity

Keeping this cute and moving animal at home is quite troublesome. He must have enough space to run and jump. Lack of physical activity leads to physical inactivity and weakened immunity. The animal is very neat, likes to clean its fur and chooses a place for the toilet itself. It is simply impossible to impose on him a place where it will relieve need.

Despite all the efforts of the owner, the earthen hare remains wild. He can come to hands and even let himself be stroked, but you cannot call him tame. Any communication with a person leads to stress, especially in the daytime.

Jerboas are kept in the most spacious enclosure that can be put in the apartment. The enclosure must be at least 1 m high, as they easily bounce 50 cm and can hit a low cover.Artificial objects cannot be used inside. A rodent will gnaw any products, and the ingress of plastic into its body will inevitably lead to death.

It is impossible to contain several animals together. They are very aggressive towards their fellow tribesmen and will certainly get involved in a fight.

At the bottom of the cage or aviary, a layer of soil is laid out on which the grass has been previously grown. You can limit yourself to a thick layer of sand. The use of hard soil is unacceptable, which leads to injuries to the limbs. Be sure to have clean bowls for food and a drinking bowl with fresh water.

It is recommended to put roots, twigs and dry grass in the cage. From them, jerboa will be able to build a nest. The main thing is that he has a shelter where he can hide and sleep.

At the first opportunity, freedom-loving little animals flee from captivity and hide in a secluded place. At night, they are able to gnaw a hole in concrete to a depth of 20-30 cm or up to 45-50 cm in a brick wall and hide in it.

A pet is fed a mixture of grains, fruits and vegetables. It is useful to feed seeds of pumpkin, watermelon, sunflower, carrots, beets, apples, pears, potatoes, willow twigs and fruit trees. It is regularly necessary to give crickets, grasshoppers, flour worms and other small insects.

With good care, a large jerboa will be able to live in captivity for up to 4-5 years.

Pin
Send
Share
Send