Our Beautiful World

KAMCHATKA, Russia  
Animals on Kamchatka  Part 2.



Animals on this page

Arctic ground squirrel, Spermophilus parryii
Siberian lemming, Lemmus sibericus
Kamchatka Marmot, Marmota kamtschatica
Wolverine, Gulo gulo
Kamchatka snow sheep, Ovis nivicola nivicola
Sabel, Martes zibellina
Euro-asian otter, Lutra lutra


3. Animals on Kamchatka



Arctic ground squirrel, Spermophilus parryii
Photo by Brude Hayward,
from "Some Mammals of the World", University of Alaska Museum of the North


Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii)

The arctic ground squirrel was named "tsik-tsik" by the Inupiat Eskimos on account of a call
this little rodent makes when it is alarmed? Tsik-tsiks are found in both arctic and alpine tundra.
They fatten themselves on seeds, mushrooms and berries—almost doubling their body weight
over the summer—in preparation for fall hibernation.
  
© www.ecosystema.ru/

Their ears pricked, eyes bright, an arctic ground squirrel stands watch by its burrow.
It whistles an alarm as a peregrine swoops, then dives to safety below ground.

The Arctic Ground Squirrel's main habitat is the Arctic tundra. They prefer areas that are
preferably not too wet with plenty of vegetation. These squirrels live in very open areas.


© www.ecosystema.ru/


The Arctic Ground Squirrel has definite amenities, that make it easy to distinguish it from its
relatives. The coat is beige and tan, with white spots on its back side. This squirrel has a
rounded face, little ears, a dark bushy tail and white imprinting around its eyes. Both sexes
attain an average length of about 15 to 16 inches long and the males usually outweigh the
female squirrels. Small and chunky, the Arctic Ground Squirrel is built for life close to the
ground. Its hot dog shaped body, short legs, and powerful claws help them dig their burrows.

  
© www.ecosystema.ru/
The habitat of the Squirrels is an extremely cold environment. They survive through the severe
winters by bringing hibernation into their life cycles. The Arctic Ground Squirrels lie asleep for
about seven months each year. They move into their hibernating berths around the beginning
of September and wake up in late April. Most females and juveniles lose about 35 percent
of their body weight during hibernation.
Part of text above from Arctic Wildlife, By Fred J. Kane

ARKive video - Arctic ground squirrel - overview
Arctic ground squirrel, Spermophilus parryii - Overview
BBC Natural History Unit
http://www.arkive.org



squirrel

squirrel

squirrel

squirrel

Actic Groundsquirrel
, Spermophilus parryi, Dionisia Mt.





Copyright: dinets.travel.ru/chukotka.htm

Brown or Siberian lemming, Lemmus sibericus
They like to eat mostly arctic grasses and moss. At the start of the winter lemmings grow to
very large claws on their front feet to help them dig a hole through the snow to reach their
grass nests. They don't hibernate and have to spend the winter looking for food and moving
to keep warm.

Lemmings give birth in both summer and winter and most lemmings manage to live less than
a year. Their population numbers go up and down a lot and there are tons of lemmings about
every four years. Lemmings are really important food for snowy owls, falcons, weasels and
other animals in the Arctic.




Photo: Kamchatka Travel Group

Kamchatka Marmot, Marmota kamtschatica (camtschatica)
Black-capped marmots live in the cold and somewhat hostile alpine areas of eastern Siberia
and Kamtchatica. Their closest relatives are probably the Alaska marmot, found in the
Brooks Range. Black-capped marmots currently live in three very isolated and spatially
distinct populations. A common feature in all habitats is the plethora of rocks and dirth of
vegetation.

They are only active about three and a half months each year and they mature slowly.
Dispersers wait for at least three years before they leave their natal group. Average litter
sizes are around four, and sex ratios are a bit male-biased. Black-capped marmots and hoary marmots are the only two species occasionally found on cliff bands
above the sea.
Text from Marmotburrow, UCLA


The Wolverine ranges from northern Europe and Siberia through northern North America,
and since that includes Kamchatka, here it is:
 
Wolverine, Gulo gulo, summer and winter
Photo:
Swedish Centre for School Biology and Biotechnology and Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center

Wolverine, Gulo gulo
The Wolverine ranges from northern Europe and Siberia through northern North America,
and since that includes Kamchatka, here it is:

One of the largest extant mustelids, Gulo gulo 's head and body length is 65-105 cm and tail
length is 17-26 cm. Their weight is between 7 and 32 kgs. Females are at least ten percent
smaller than males in linear measurements and 30 percent less in weight. Gulo gulo is
reminiscent of a large marten with a heavy build, large head, relatively small and rounded ears,
a short tail, and massive limbs.


© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

Wolverines have long, dense fur which is generally blackish brown with a light brown band extending along each side of the body from shoulder to rump and joining over the base of the
tail. Gulo gulo has keen senses of smell and hearing but fairly poor eyesight. Wolverines are
extremely strong and aggressive for their size, and they have been reported to drive bears,
cougars, and even packs of wolves from their kills.
Text from "The Gulo Project"



Kamchatka snow sheep, Ovis nivicola nivicola
Photo: Victoria Travel Co. Ltd

Kamchatka snow sheep, Ovis nivicola nivicola


© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

Usually darker in color than the other snow sheep and lacking a white (or light) forehead patch. Horns on average have heavier bases than the mainland snow sheep which has caused some to call this subspecies the Kamchatka bighorn. This is incorrect because they are still a thinhorn species with horns similar (or identical) to the Dall or Stone Sheep of North America.
Text from: http://www.wildsheep.org


  
filin.km.ru/mammels/cunitsa1.htm and
from Laura Leighty's Sable page

Sabel, Martes zibellina

There is sexual dimorphism between males and females. Males have a body length which is
longer than females and they also weigh more than females. Males weigh between 880-1800
grams while females weigh between 700 and 1560 grams. The winter pelage is longer and
more luxurious than the summer coat. Fur color ranges from light to dark brown. The color of
their fur is usually lighter on their belly and darker on their back and legs. Individuals also
display a light patch of fur on their throat which may be gray, white, or a pale yellow.

The Sable exhibits delayed implantation. They mate during the spring and implantation occurs
eight months later in the female. Where individuals are scarce; males exhibit courtship rituals
such as: jumping, running, and "cat - like rumbling." Violent competition occurs in areas
abundant with males. The females have a gestation period of 250 - 300 days and give birth
to 1 - 7 altricial young. The young are weaned at 7 weeks and reach sexual maturity at 2 - 3
years. In most cases paternal care has been observed. The male protects the territory and
has even been seen bringing food to the female and her young. more to follow

A complete fur coat is currently being sold for US $36,000, so why shouldn't you go hunting?
However, if you don't know why you should NOT, I can't help you.
From Laura Leighty's Sable page


  
Photo: © http://www.naturschule.com

Euro-asian otter, Lutra lutra
The Euro-asian otter, (Lutra lutra), has the widest distribution of all otter species.
Its range covers parts of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

Otters spend most of their lives in freshwater. They inhabits rivers, lakes, streams, ponds
and along rocky coasts. It uses a variety of shelters, such as, crevices in rocks and under the
roots of trees but it mainly uses dens called "holts" where the females give birth and bring up
their young. The holt has a chamber above the level of the water and an exit under the water.
There is also a air shaft connecting the chamber to the surface which opens out into the
thick thorny bushes or brambles.


© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

The diet of the Euro-asian otter is varied. It feeds upon fish, eels, insects, aquatic birds, frogs,
small mammals and crustaceans. Euro-asian otters found living along coastal waters have
been found to feed mostly on crabs and dogfish.
The hunts mostly at night, cornering their prey
in weeds and catching them in their mouths.
Text above from Wendy Anderson's Lutra lutra page

Now you may also join us up north to the Chukotka-peninsula
and there will be lots of rare animals. Click here



 0. Main menu
 1. Preface
 2. Where on Earth is Kamchatka?
 4. Birds - Birding
 5. Flora - Flowers and forests
 6. Sealife
 7. Valley of Geysers
 8. The Volcanoes of Kamchatka
 9. The Forests in Kamchatka
10. The Indigenous People of Kamchatka
11. Vitus Bering, explorer
12. Georg Steller, naturalist
13. Siberia

Back to menu - Continue to next item

Text and pictures on this page, if nothing else mentioned:
 Courtesy: http://www.kamchatka.org.ru,  and from the book "The Russian Far East" 



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