Sonia-shelf is very similar to a squirrel. It lives in trees in many parts of Russia and feeds on fruits, nuts and grains. These animals can be kept at home by purchasing from a pet store. Dormouses are distinguished by the fact that they sleep a lot during the day and are extremely active at night – thanks to this lifestyle, these rodents got their name.
Origin of the species and description
Sonia-caption – an animal belonging to the dormice family. These are small rodents that look very similar to mice. The length of the body, depending on the species, varies from 8 cm to 20 cm. It differs from mice in that the tail is necessarily shorter than the body – this is due to the lifestyle of the dormice, in which they often climb stems and trees.
Interesting fact: The tail of some species of dormice is also a way of salvation. If a predator grabs them by the tail, then the upper skin can peel off the tail and the dormouse will calmly run away, leaving the enemy with its upper layer of tail skin.
Sony got its name not by chance – they are nocturnal, and sleep during the day. Despite the fact that they belong to rodents, their diet is very diverse and different, depending on the type of dormice. Rodents are the most numerous order of mammals. Dormouse has about 28 species, which are divided into nine genera.
The most common types of dormouse:
- African dormouse ;
- Christie's dormouse;
- short-eared dormouse;
- Guinea dormouse;
- Fluffy forest dormouse;
- Sichuan dormouse;
- hazel dormouse;
- Iranian mouse-like dormouse.
The first fossil rodents closest to the dormouse species date back to the Middle Eocene. In Africa, these animals appeared in the Upper Miocene, and even earlier in Asia. This indicates successful migrations of the species across different continents. Four types of dormouse live in Russia: they are shelf, forest, hazel and garden.
Appearance and features
Sonia polchok is the largest of the dormice. The length of her body is from 13 to 8 cm, and the weight of males can reach 180 g, although at home, dormouse can fatten up to even more weight. Dormouse-shelf looks like a gray squirrel, but with a slightly modified constitution.
The regiment has rounded small ears and large, slightly bulging black eyes. The nose is large, not covered with hair, pink. Dark gray or dark spots are visible around the eyes. The nose has several hard hairs – whiskers, which are extremely sensitive and help dormouse in search of food.
The body is elongated, which is noticeable only when the dormouse is in motion. The short tail sometimes resembles squirrels with its fur, but, as a rule, dormice regiments do not have an excessively thick cover on the tail. The coat is long and soft, silver-gray in color. The belly, neck and inside of the paws are white. The fur is not high, but was valued among hunters for a short time. Dormouse have a dense cover that allows them to survive in the cold season. The paws of the regiments are tenacious, with long fingers, completely devoid of wool.
The most mobile are the first and fifth fingers on the paws, which are retracted perpendicular to the other fingers. This allows the shelf dormouse to firmly grasp the branches of trees and hold on to the wind.
Sexual dimorphism among dormice is almost not observed. It is noted that males of regiments have a darker color and larger sizes than females. Also, males have more pronounced dark rings around the eyes, and the tail is more fluffy, more often reminiscent of a squirrel.
Where does the dormouse live?
Sonya dormouse is one of the most common types of dormouse.
Initially, dormouse dormouse lived in the following places:
- flatlands, mountains and forests of Europe;
- Caucasus and Transcaucasia;
- Northern Spain;
- Volga region;
- Northern Iran.
Later, dormouse regiments were brought to Great Britain, to the Chiltern Hills. Also, small populations are found among the Mediterranean islands: Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, Corfu and Crete. Occasionally found in Turkmenistan and Ashgabat.
Russia is inhabited unevenly by the dormouse, this species lives in isolation in several large areas. For example, they live in Kursk, near the Volga River, in Nizhny Novgorod, Tatarstan, Chuvashia and Bashkiria.
There are not so many of them in the north – only near the Oka River, since individuals are poorly adapted to low temperatures. In the south of the European part of Russia, there is no regiment at all, but it is found at the foothills of the Caucasus. The largest population of dormouse lives on the isthmus of the Caucasus and in Transcaucasia.
The peculiarity of dormouse is that it almost does not descend to the ground from trees, moving exclusively along branches and thick stems. On earth, the dormouse is the most vulnerable. Therefore, dormouse is common only in areas where there are many trees and shrubs.
Now you know where the dormouse lives. Let's find out what the rodent eats.
What does the dormouse eat?
Photo: Rodent dormouse
Despite the fact that many rodents are omnivores, dormouse dormouse are exclusively herbivorous animals .
Their diet often includes:
- walnuts. Dormouse is a master at cracking hard shells, but they are able to determine the maturity of a nut without even cracking it;
- beech roots;
- grape seeds.
Interesting fact: Sometimes slugs, caterpillars and herbivorous bugs were found in the stomachs of pods. This is due to the accidental ingress of insects into the plant food of dormouse clumps.
The dormouse clumps feed without leaving the trees. They are picky about the choice of fruits: having picked a berry or nut, they first bite it . If they like the food, they eat it, and if the fruit is unripe, they throw it on the ground. This behavior attracts bears and wild boars, who come to eat the fruits plucked by dormouse.
For a long time, dormouse regiments were a problem for agricultural land and vineyards, which led to the destruction of regiments. These rodents ravaged the fields of corn and whole grain crops, destroyed grapes and other fruits, berries and vegetables.
At home, dormice willingly drink cow's milk and eat dried fruits. They are not picky about food, so domestic dormouse is fed even with cereal porridges, which are diluted with milk. Dormouse-shelves quickly get used to a new diet.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Dormouse regiments live in deciduous and mixed forests, where their main feeding territory is located. At night, regiments are agile and fast animals that run along the vertical surface of trees and jump from branch to branch.
Daytime dormouses sleep, which allows them to become less likely to be hunted by predators. They make their nests in hollows of trees, less often in stones and roots. Nests are insulated with grass, deadwood, moss, bird down and reeds.
An interesting fact: Dormouse regiments prefer birdhouses and other artificial nests of birds, arranging their rookeries right above them. Because of this, adult birds often stop flying to the nest, as a result of which clutches and chicks die.
around the month of October. As a rule, they sleep until May or June, but the months can vary depending on the habitat of the rodent. Animals winter in groups, although they lead a solitary lifestyle.
The nightlife of this species of rodents is tied to daylight hours, and not to specific time intervals. As the nights shorten, polkas also shorten their time of activity, and vice versa. In fact, dormouse dormouse are able to be active during the day, feeding and moving around, but this is complicated due to numerous diurnal predators.
At home, dormouse dormouse get used to daytime life. Dormouse grown by breeders easily go into their hands, recognize their person by smell and voice, love when they are stroked. They climb with interest on a person, perceiving him as a tree.
Social structure and reproduction
Approximately two weeks after leaving hibernation, the mating season begins in dormice. Males behave very noisily: every night they try to attract females with a squeak, and also arrange demonstration fights with each other. Throughout July, the dormouse behaves in this way, looking for a mate.
After the female has chosen a male for herself, mating takes place. After that, the female and the male no longer see each other, and all the dormice regiments return to their usual quiet way of life.
The gestation period for a polka lasts about 25 days, which is very short compared to chipmunks and squirrels. Sonya-shelf gives birth to 3-5 cubs weighing no more than two and a half grams. The body length of newborn dormouse is about 30 mm. Being born completely helpless, the litter cubs grow very quickly, already on the seventh day becoming covered with thick fur.
On the 20th day, the litter teeth erupt, and the size increases 5 times. The coat thickens and a thick undercoat appears. Up to 25 days, the cubs feed on milk, and after that they are able to get food on their own.
The first five days after leaving the nest, the dormice-shelves are next to their mother, and after that they are able to independently obtain food. In total, dormouse regiments live for about five and a half years, but at home, life expectancy increases to six years.
Natural enemies of dormouse regiment
Dormouse regiment has reduced the number of natural enemies as much as possible due to the nocturnal lifestyle. Therefore, its only enemies are owls, in particular – owls. These birds grab dormouse directly from tree branches if the animal does not have time to hide in a hollow or crevasse. small rodents. They were baked with honey and bred in special gardens.
Forest ferrets are also a danger to dormice. These animals are able to hide and climb the low height of trees, due to which they can sometimes catch nimble dormouse. Also, ferrets easily climb into the secluded dwellings of dormouse dormouse, destroy their nests and kill cubs.
Dormition dormouse are defenseless against predators, so all they can do is run away and hide. However, if a human tries to catch a dormouse, the animal can bite him and even infect him.
Therefore, dormice regiments caught in the wild cannot be domesticated. Only animals raised from birth next to humans are able to get along comfortably at home, get used to the owner and do not see him as an enemy.
Population and species status
Despite the fact that the fur of the dormouse is beautiful and warm, it was harvested only in small quantities. In 1988, the species was listed in the Red Book in Tula and Ryazan, but soon the population quickly recovered. Although the dormouse are limited in their habitats, no measures are required to restore and protect the species.
The number of dormice regiments varies depending on the habitat. The population in the Transcaucasus suffers the most, where active deforestation and the development of new lands for agricultural crops are being carried out. Nevertheless, this does not affect the population critically.
The south and west of Europe are densely populated by dormouse dormouse. Shelves settle near cities and towns to feed on vineyards, orchards, and agricultural fields, which sometimes causes them to be poached. This also does not affect the dormouse population.
In addition, dormouse dormouse are animals that are easy to breed at home. They do not require high maintenance parameters, they eat any food for rodents, vegetables, fruits and vegetable mixtures. Dormouse Regiments are friendly to people and even breed in captivity.
These small rodents are common in many parts of the world. Dormouse continues to lead their usual way of life, despite climatic and environmental changes and deforestation. Rodents adapt to new habitat conditions, and no factors affect their reproduction.