Ground squirrel dog is one of the most numerous inhabitants Tryokhrechye steppes. It is the descendant of susliks (Citellus), widely distributed in Eurasia and successfully survived the Ice Age.

Rodent length of about 20 cm, tail length of about 8 cm. The head is relatively large, have cheek pouches. The eyes are large, shifted to the top of the head, framed by thick lashes; ears very short and can be closed. Coating head distinctive: from the nose to the ear through the eye goes wide black strip that hides the eyes. The upper part of the body is gray-brown with a yellowish tinge, belly white, black stripe delimited top of the head gray-yellow.

This burrowing animals that dig tunnels incisors and claws of forepaws. In winter, these animals live only under the ground, rarely come to the surface to clear the snow from the air passages. If the winter with little snow and warm, in the winter they can generally never go out of their holes, just clearing the snow from the hole-ducts.

Ground squirrel dog lives large close-knit groups, prone to public life. In small groups, the animals are very shy and cautious, carefully hide the traces of their presence. But in a very dense settlements are not uncommon fights and even cannibalism. So every few years old overpopulated colony are divided: some animals (usually from the colony center) leaves the inhabited places, and sent to learn other habitats. the Ground squirrel dog is a Eurasian equivalent of the American prairie dog (Cynomys), although not a member of it in a direct relationship, as only a very specialized kind of gophers.

The role of this rodent in the steppe ecosystem is very high: the colony dig under the ground the whole "city". Their moves are pulled under the surface of the earth for hundreds of meters. And in the most populated areas Ground squirrel dog some small little animal can run in their burrows several kilometers underground, not getting to the surface. Nora Suslikov dogs - the result of the labor of many generations of animals. They are located on several levels. The top level, at a depth of about one meter, take stern moves. Through these animals come to the surface to collect food. During the spring, summer and fall food Ground squirrel dog up grass roots of grasses and seeds. Entrance to the underground "city" is easy to identify: through it constantly dumped on the surface of the ground, and beside it usually accumulates a large pile of earth. It rises above the steppe grass, and is clearly visible from a distance. On moisture of the upper layer of the earth thrown out, you can determine how often the course is used and renovate. This feed moves are the link to the different colonies of rodents. At the entrance to the hole, right on the pile of discarded land, always worth watch, looking out for possible enemies - predatory birds and animals. In case of danger, he utters a shrill whistle, which was immediately picked up by adjacent clock.

Below is the level of feeding tunnels "pantries". They are located at a depth of about 1.5 - 2 meters. These passages branched from the most frequently used feeding tunnels, and ends more cameras - actually "pantries" in which animals are folded feed stocks. To spring flood is not flooded, "storage", the entrance to which does smooth bend up and down. Water accumulates in the bend, and is absorbed into the ground, and "storage" and its contents remain dry. "Cellars" in rodent populations are concentrated in the most favorable areas for life. In winter Suslikov dogs stockpile mostly "dry food": seeds of various cereals, roots and tubers occasionally. Food they drag in a well-developed cheek pouches, so it remains dry and is stored for a long time.

The third level is "small town" Suslikov dogs - a "holy of holies", inhabited burrows. They are located in the center of colonies in the lowest floor, and extend laterally approximately from the inputs in the "storage". Thus, they, too, are not flooded in the rain. The moves, leading to the living chambers, intersect and branch out, so in case of danger from animals all living cells can be saved by any suitable hole.

Residential chamber lined with dry leaves with the addition of fragrant herbs such as wormwood - for disinfection. In Ground squirrel dog is up to three broods a year, in the south - up to four. The litter - 5 - 7 cubs. They are born blind, helpless, covered with very short hair. Eyes are open at the age of about 10 days.

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