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Steppe pestle genus Lagurus (family of hamsters) - in nature there is only one species with four subspecies in it.
Small rodent that multiplies rapidly, eats a lot and inhabits large territories.
During periods of its maximum reproduction, it is capable of harm farm crops by 50%by destroying them.
Steppe pestle: photo and description of the species
Distinctive features are the shortest tail and small ears, as well as a clear dark-colored stripe along the entire back.
The body of the rodent is squat with short limbs and not large sizes, length 9 - 12 cm... As a rule, females are larger.
With a sufficient amount of feed, body weight reaches 35 grams., but in winter, the animal loses weight to 22 grams.
The tail is short, poorly covered with wool, its length is 2 cm. The ears are short and rounded, barely protruding from the fur. The eyes are small.
On the hind legs, the third toe is slightly longer than the fourth.... On the forelegs, the difference is not so noticeable. The soles of the feet are covered with hair and have small callus-like outgrowths.
The animal's coat of wool is soft, thick and high (especially in winter). Along the back, starting from the forehead, along the entire ridge of the pestle stretches longitudinal dark brown or black stripe.
The color of the animal, as a rule, is monochromatic with a lighter shade on the sides and belly. The color range varies from pale yellow to dark brown colors, it depends more on the place of residence of the animal and on the subspecies to which it belongs.
Meet the Steppe Pestle in our photo gallery:
Most often, these small rodents flood southern steppes, semi-desert, and forest-steppe of Eurasia.
The steppe lemongrass tries to avoid motley steppes, but is distinguished by its abundance in feather grass-fescue, white-wormwood, or grass-forb steppes.
Also, arable land, fallow lands, pastures and the outskirts of roads are considered a favorite place of residence for a rodent. In the eastern Tien Shan, the rodent settles in the middle of the high-mountainous rocky steppes.
The breeding period of the steppe pestle begins in April and ends in the month of September.
The female bears a litter, which may consist of 6 cubs, throughout the 21st day. Feeding babies lasts 2 weeks, and by the 45th day, matured females from a new offspring are considered fully ripe for further reproduction. Thus, one adult is capable of give up to 6 offspring per year.
Important: With the threat of extinction of the species, the female is able to bring 12 litters, carrying them throughout the year.
The life span of a rodent in the wild is 6 to 20 months. These indicators are more dependent on their lifestyle.
The fact is that the animal is the main food for animals such as korsak and fox, which eat up to 100 individuals per month. Do not disdain this delicacy:
- kunyi - ferret, weasel, ermine;
- birds of prey - long-legged buzzard, owls, harriers, gulls;
- large predators - wolverine, badgers and bear.
Officially, there are data on life expectancy up to 3 years.
The rodent tries to settle in places where the soil is soft, which allows digging mink up to 90 cm deep, but at the same time, so that there is no reservoir or rivers nearby that, if spilled, can flood their homes.
Important: Habitat often changes due to the plowing of the site or the burning out of the flora, which serves as food for the animal.
The animal's need for moisture is much less than that of its relatives. The mink of a rodent itself has many passages and branches leading to the surface. This trick in the structure of the burrow helps to avoid the animal's frequent appearance on the surface, which threatens it with death.
The animal lives in colonies, therefore, in a place where to settle, not one entrance to the hole is found, but a large number of them.
All life activity of the steppe pestle is determined by nutrition and heat exchange. Eats:
- all varieties of cereals;
- wormwood and various parts of plants;
- grass seeds;
- bark and tubers of shrubs;
If necessary, the rodent can also eat small insects.
The animal leads an active lifestyle almost throughout the day, but at the same time it can be noticed at dusk and at night, when it gets to the surface.
Harm to farming
Since the rodent makes small reserves of food, he has to look for food on the territories of farmlands. In mass breeding, rodent columns capable of destroying 50% of all grain crops.
Pastures are no exception. The animal can consume green mass in a day with a weight equal to its own.
Pestle never will not eat outdoors... She brings the broken-off plant to the entrance to the hole and only there without fear starts the meal, so the entrance to her hole can always be identified by the leftovers of plants.
Ways to fight
- Deep plowing... Allows you to destroy burrows, making it easier for predators to hunt. In this case, 60% of young animals die, whose age has not reached 12 days, and 10% of adults.
- Are applied poisoned grain baits... They are prepared from 10%, from grain, zinc phosphide and vegetable oil. The pickling grain is sifted by hand, more than 1 km away from residential buildings and poultry farms.
- Places that are located near the village, farm or accumulation of game are processed bacterial grain bait... For their manufacture, bacteria Isachenko and Prokhorov with No. 5170 are used.
In addition to the harm that the steppe pestle causes to agricultural pastures and crops, the rodent spreads such dangerous diseases like plague and tularemia.
But representatives of this species are on the menu of almost all predators, so their population drops sharply in some countries. the animal is protected to avoid complete disappearance.