Picture by Lambert

This is tiny insectivorous mammal: body length is 5 - 6 cm, tail length – up to 3 - 4 cm. Muzzle is long, ears are very small, hidden in fur, teeth are numerous, sharp. The bite of this mammal is poisonous, in its mouth there are modified salivary glands, producing the poisonous secret for killing of catch - large insects and small vertebrates. For day the mammal eats approximately twice more its body weight. In winter it doesn’t fall into hibernation, hunts under snow rodents and birds spending the night in snow, willingly eats carrion (even frozen one). Poison is able to kill bird in size like the pigeon for 5 seconds, an animal in size as a dog - in some hours. Contrast spotted black and white wool coloration is the warning for possible predators. Spots are chaotic, their pattern and amount varies individually. Warning demonstration of this mammal is remarkable and well appreciable - the animal jumps up at height up to 30 cm with shrill peep.

Initial image - picture by Pavel Volkov

Animal breeds in spring, summer and early autumn, gives rise to 4 packs (7 - 9 cubs in each one) per one year. Newborn cubs are hairless and blind, at the age of 5 days they become covered by wool and begin to see clearly. 20-day's cubs leave shelter and follow mother, at this time they study to search for food. At monthly age they leave mother and begin independent life. Poisonous glands at young growth start to function only at achievement of independence (the milk of the female contains the substances, stopping development of poisonous glands). Young animals become sexual mature at the age of 2 months, life duration is about 18 months, as a rarity – up to 2 years.

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