Behavior. Clawed gopher active all year round. By type of mobility this animal similar to other life forms desert rodents – jerboa. Tropleniya method after rains revealed that he goes in search of food from the holes at a distance of 800-1000 m Disturbed and persecuted individual person can run up to 20 – 30 min and make transitions to 3 km. Surface activity of these rodents in the winter, due to foraging, almost stopped. The lack of food supplies for the winter causes them to enter the period of apprenticeship in the most adverse weather, so the difference in the daily activities in different seasons expressed relatively weak.
These squirrels are almost always held by one. Group meetings were observed in young animals during their exit to the surface, in very rare cases suslyata were in burrows with adult female.
Away from populated areas and in areas with large populations, as well as in areas with rich vegetation marked by simultaneous output of a normal five or six adults that we observed in Kyzyl Kum. One can assume that this solitary animal is a secondary phenomenon caused by the characteristics of foraging in a relatively poor vegetation of deserts.
From the middle of June traced behavior gophers two ages – adults and young. Adults, in contrast to the young, very mobile. They came out of the hole, often without stopping ran 100 – 200 m making a lot of turns on the way, climbed to the crest of the dune, where to stay and for a long time to inspect the neighborhood. Often returned to their burrows after a three-hour period of apprenticeship. On the trail you can see how the animals during long movements looked into each of the holes encountered in open or dug in the sand plant roots. However, no matter how far gone adult females from their hiding places, they always come back, avoiding other people's normal, even if they persecuted anyone. This is to some extent indicates the presence of a gopher clawed individual and foraging areas.
Time of greatest activity of gophers in the sands of South Balkhash is the second half of June and early July, when the youngest of the surface there are many holes and begin to settle. In the second half of July and August, the hottest time of the year, animals significantly reduced their activity, appearing only in the morning and evening hours. According to SI fire (1940), from June to September, many squirrels in the sands near Ashgabat permanently buried in holes, sinking, apparently, in the summer hibernation. The same opinion Stalmakova VA (1955) on the Gophers in the Karakum Desert. B. Heptner (1929) in the heat of summer found gopher burrows, tucked inside a plug of sand mixed with grass. In Tajikistan, the BS Vinogradov (1935), clawed ground squirrel summer also becomes dormant. According to the same NP Lavrov and SP Naumov (1933), and many other researchers, this rodent do not hibernate or winter or summer, and this singularity of the annual cycle characterized by small animal throughout its range and is not just a local feature. The latter follows a more plausible to believe, because due to the late release of normal young (mid-June), the highest activity of ground squirrels is at the end of June – beginning of July and after August 15, again a noticeable relief in the conditions of existence. As a result, during the decline of the daily activity of the animals lasts no more than 1 to 1.5 months, which makes it possible to speak of their summer hibernation, at Mercy in the north-eastern part of the area – in Muyun-Kum and southern Balkhash. The absence of summer hibernation in Kyzyl Kum also wrote Ivan Kolesnikov (1953) and Yu Sapozhenko (1965), based on a series of skins of animals caught in each of the summer months, from April to October, in eastern Kyzyl Kum.
Clawed ground squirrels strictly daytime animals. In Taukumeoni out of the holes relatively late, even in the middle of June, there were about 9 h and not just after sunrise (5 h 30 min). The most frequently observed between 9 and 11 h when the sand is heated sufficiently. This late entry of animals indicates that this animal is adapted to heat more than the real squirrels. At the high summer temperatures of their daily activity is manifested in two periods: from 9 to 12 and from 16 to 20 h and more animals are active in the morning. From the family burrow young come later, but more often than adults. Two peaks in the daily activities of this rodent in the summer less pronounced than that of other day dwell in the wilderness – the great gerbil, yellow and medium gophers.
Our field studies February 20 – March 20, 1951 coincided with the time when the dunes were covered with snow in 35-40 cm and were cold to 42 °. Found out that clawed ground squirrel in this extremely cold winter has greatly decreased activity, become less mobile, restricted to the holes in the line of a small sandy hill slope.
In the second half of February animals every day out of the holes. Released a long time sat in the hole and if the waste, it is not beyond 20-30 m Daytime activity started from 10-11 h and to 17 h animals already hiding. Within a short daily walk, they picked up a branch and Haloxylon buckwheat, outdoor snow sun digging tulip bulbs and roots of sedge. By late March, rodent behavior changed markedly. They began to meet more often, chasing each other, sometimes fighting.
In Kyzyl Kum in late January with no snow squirrels were on the surface for a period of high standing sun (Kolesnikov, 1953). Likewise, animals behave in late November and early December.
Spring and autumn are like transition from cold to hot season and vice versa. During these periods, squirrels can be found on the surface at times from morning to night, in the same time have to reproduction (spring), high-calorie diet and a change of coat.
Clawed ground squirrel is active in almost any weather. On activity animals affected by a rapidly changing weather factors. In very windy conditions, especially in winter, and during the period of rainfall gophers are less mobile and away from the hole does not go away. In the summer they often go out of their burrows after a rain. The dynamics of active life of the animal is in close connection with the factor of temperature and sunlight.
Unlike other squirrels, clawed better adapted to the lack of moisture, which, apparently, and give him an opportunity, not lay down to sleep, stay awake throughout the year. He has a relatively low water exchange (Shcheglova, 1951). Skin-pulmonary return water from the rodent is less than 38% yellow. Amount of water lost through the skin and lungs, referred to grams of oxygen consumed is for clawed ground squirrel 0.6 g and 0.97 for yellow Mr.
Thus, with less loss of water is reduced and the need for it. This animal in need less than yellow, which adheres relatively moist habitats and awake until vegetates spring greenery.
Clawed ground squirrel in October expenses for the day 23 g water (27.7 in April), while the great gerbil 21 g, noon and 7 g (Stalmakova, 1954).
Attention is drawn to the relatively large flow of water through the skin (7.9 g, or 35%), while the large and midday gerbils and Upland coney decomposition products derived mainly from urine. This feature of the structure is explained koyashyh sheets compared rodents – extremely short and thin fur clawed ground squirrel in the summer months.
Clawed ground squirrel can tolerate temperature changes in the environment. Thermoregulation it much better than zimospyaschihsuslikov.Pri content in the chamber with a temperature of 2 ° per hour adult animals body temperature decreased by only 1,5-2,0 ° (8-9 ° instead of the yellow ground squirrel during waking hours). Had a significantly lower capacity for thermoregulation in the male in cage in Alma-Ata. Low body temperature for one hour on the average 1,98 ° in males and in females 1,54 °.
Of thermoregulation have clawed ground squirrel, apparently obnaruzhivaetbolshie sezonnyekolebaniya with what appear to be linked abrupt shifts in the rate of exchange of the rodent compared with yellow gopher during its activity (Kalabuhov and others, 1958).
As for the chemical heat regulation, manifested long before the physical, she clawed at the ground squirrel is more pronounced in the summer, when the animals are dressed with rare and short fur, whereas the yellow squirrel – after waking up than before hibernation (Kalabuhov and others, 1958 ).
Clawed ground squirrel has a well-developed vision for hundreds of meters, he distinguishes between the risk, despite the lack of a loud voice, hearing is well developed. Like all rodents feed on underground parts of plants, this beast highly developed sense of smell. He unerringly finds the tulip bulbs that are at a depth of 8-10 cm from the surface of the soil, and sand cockroach sitting in the sand at a depth of 15-20 cm Although the surface is no indication of their stay in the sand is not noticeable (Stalma-kov, 1954). Known for his distinctive tactile organs – whiskers focused on the ventral side of the body, have adaptive significance.
Protective coloration makes squirrel fur almost invisible from a distance and only a flicker of black end of the underside of the tail produces animal. It is rarely possible to approach him in a gun shot and then only in a rut or resettlement of young, when animals are less careful. They run across the open areas at a distance of up to 80 m and visit isolated areas of sand that, Kirov. Here, they have no place to hide from the enemy, the best thing – a fast running and protective coloration. Runs clawed ground squirrel jumps on his outstretched legs, with a raised body and cocked tail. While running, he throws a high back body and pushes her to the ground, as do the real squirrels.
Further care of the hole and emerged in connection with the rapid movement is in direct proportion to the kormnostn place. In areas with abundant grass, especially in the period of its development, clawed ground squirrels are less mobile. With the wealth of vegetation running exclusively on a road or path, where there is usually located and rescue hole.
It should point to one of the curious unconditioned reflexes clawed ground squirrel, are not detected in these gophers. This rodent often relegated to hunting for his person from his hole, just as some birds (cranes, bustards, waders) is withdrawn from an enemy nest during incubation or feeding chicks. Coming to the surface, zverok almost never remains in the hole. Even individuals found in the settlements, usually run away so that their hiding place to see almost not possible. Ran 50-100 meters or topping DUNES ridge stops at a gopher hole and carefully inspected. One has only to show man, he immediately left and this place passes the next hill and select the new position for observation. Trying not to lose sight of the human mind animal takes him to a considerable distance. This peculiarity of behavior increases as the drying up of vegetation and reducing forage when rodents significantly extending the range of activities.