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Vermglss

When an environment had stabilized after Holocene accident , the climate of Earth became considerably warmer and more humid. At animals the huge amount of new fodder resources had appeared, number and species variability of some animal groups had considerably increased. In warm Neocenic climate the area of various social insects had considerably extended, and they became a fodder resource for some species of animals representing new families, appeared in Neocene.

The wormtonguer is African variant of anteater being the descendant of any species of numerous African shrews (Soricidae). It is rather large representative of order: cat-sized, but it seems even more largly because of features of constitution. The head at animal is very long: it is the adaptation for feed in nests of social insects. The muzzle of shrews is usually extended to short flexible proboscis. This feature has received the further development at their descendant: the skull of animal is short and expanded in front, and increased nasal cartilages serve as support for very long mobile proboscis (making two thirds of length of head) with nostrils and mouth on the end. Nostrils have ring contracting muscles – it is the adaptation for protection against insect stings. Being feeding this mammal breathes by mouth in a step to tongue movements or holds the breath at all. Tongue is very long - it may be extended forward for length of proboscis of animal. The basis of tongue fastens to hypoglossal bone which has moved far back, to middle of chest. In mouth salivary glands producing sticky saliva thickening in air are well advanced. Teeth are original – incisors, canines and premolars are not present in both jaws, only sharp-edged molars have remained – two pairs in each jaw. With their help animal crushes caught insects frayed then by corneous outgrowths of stomach walls. But at young animals at which the proboscis is not advanced yet, among milk-teeth two cutters in each jaw develop nevertheless. Ears are short, they can fold across with the help of special muscle. It protects them from stings of insects. The animal spends practically all life on the ground, but if it is necessary (for example, during flooding) it can dexterously climb on trees and even swim. Usually the wormtonguer moves on the ground on four legs. Hinder legs are plantigrade with straight claws and non-joined toes. On forepaws there are sharp claws, therefore animal at walking supports on lateral side of fingers (claws at walking are turned by edges to each other). Tail is strong, with thick basis where the fat accumulates, assisting to go through fodder shortage. On waist of animal there is special gland, secreting musk liquid. Colouring of wool of animal is not striking: head of males is dark-brown colored with white tip of proboscis, back is grey with brown cross strips, and tail is black. At females head is grey without white spots. Claws at animals of both sexes are sandy-yellow. Wormtonguers are active in the afternoon: from dawn till midday and some hours before sunset. At this time insects are not so active and not so strongly bite, or hasten to nest and are not so aggressive. Having found the nest of termites or ants, animal rises on hinder legs, rests tail against the ground, and digs out the house of insects by strong movements of forepaws. It licks off running outside insects by tongue. Besides the animal can dig out of the ground larvae of beetles and gathers single insects from plants. Usually wormtonguers live single life, zealously protecting fodder site from encroachments of neighbours. Borders of this territory are diligently marked by sharply smelling musk liquid. In territory at animal there are some constant shelters, in one of which it spends the night and will spend hottest time of day. Only in breeding season borders of territories can be broken, and animals sometimes use this circumstance, redistributing fodder areas. Usually one female and some males take part in courtship ritual. Trying to impress the female, they walk on hinder legs, show claws and loudly snort. The female couples with strongest of applicant males though it frequently prefers most strongly smelling of them. Two - three times per one year the female gives rise to three – four cubs. Newborn wormtonguers are naked, blind, with closed ears. At them there are very short proboscises, therefore they can suck milk without difficulties. The female hides them in specially dug hole and feeds with milk about three weeks. At three-week age young animals leave(abandon) a hole and gradually pass to an adult diet. About one week the female teaches them to find forage, than one week the young growth keeps near to it for protection. Later young animals pass to independent life, searching free territory for themselves. Young animals are not so specialized, as adults: their diet includes much more species of insects. When the proboscis starts to grow, the wormtonguer passes to eat extremely ants and termites. They become sexual mature at the second year of life; life expectancy is about 10 - 12 years. Enemies of wormtonguers are predatory birds and mammals, sometimes large snakes and lizards attack them. The animal applies sharp claws to protect against enemies with which it inflicts to aggressor serious lacerations. Warning about intention to defend, animal emits odorous liquid and rubs itself’s back against stones or tree trunks. Also, sharply exhaling air through mouth, it utters loud sound – shrill whistle. Usually the predator has got from wormtonguer deep wound, remembers its shout of threat and pungent smell for a long time.

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