Who such baybak or Where to find a live relict?
On a sloping slope of the hill are visible whitish spots - here chalk comes to a surface, and strange “columns“ stiffened nearby. Beams of the setting sun highlighted thickset figures. Little men are not little men, hobbits are not hobbits...
Baybaki. Surprising creations! And actually - relic animals. One of the first mammals - the Nature miracle, are also much more senior than the person.
The encyclopedic dictionary can tell us of baybaka extremely briefly, is laconic: “Baybak (a steppe groundhog) - a mammal of a genus of groundhogs. Length of a body is up to 60 centimeters. Meets in steppes of Europe, Asia (Northern Kazakhstan). It is small, is under protection“. But these harmless lovely beings are worthy to tell about them more.
A steppe groundhog - baybak - the primordial inhabitant of our steppes. In the second half of the XVII century in Taurian and Azov steppes nomads - and then and inhabitants of Zaporizhia Sechi - got and took out thousands of skins of these small animals to Poland and the Crimea. Then - but not at the time of iranoyazychny Scythians and Sarmatians - the ruthless trade which put a relic view of an extinction side by the beginning of the XX century began.
There was also one more tragic reason - the uncontrolled plowing of steppes which reached apogee at the beginning of the XIX Art.
Soon of a colony of steppe groundhogs remained only by miracle on the few not opened lands, rare virgin sites yes steppe beams. The tsarism glorified in every possible way nearly drove a baybak into a grave. And the Soviet power abused since the beginning of so-called “independence“ in every possible way, besides widely known Stalin repressions, caused a stir in care of dumb animals - and in the XX century the number of baybak considerably grew. By the beginning of disorder of the Union only within Ukraine colonies of a baybak were available in Starobelshchina (The Luhansk Region) and Slobozhanshchina (The Kharkiv Region) where they, one may say, prospered thanks to the zoologist Victor Tokarsky from the Kharkiv university.
By then the number of baybak reached forty thousand individuals - agree, it is a lot of. Approximately the same quantity of small animals was in the Belgorod and Voronezh areas.
And here the quote “from those times“ is quite pertinent: “… For the purpose of carrying out actions for protection of a relic endangered species … the executive committee of regional council of deputies of workers decided to create the state baybachy wildlife area in the territory of Velikoburluksky district …“ Baybak suits to
the housing in deep, rather branched hole with rather big roundish entrance. The steppe groundhog works on construction of the dwelling for years - underground passages in several tiers last sometimes on tens of meters. Naturally, at an exit from a hole the thrown-out soil - the clay soil, chalk or a gray soil collects (the top thin layer of the chernozem of a baybaka is not touched). Kurganchik can tower on meter “with a tail“, and diameter of “construction“ often exceeds five meters!
Baybak living mainly on flat sites (in Jara he is exhausted by hard destiny and a predator - the person), uses the kurganchik - a surchina - as observation post. Danger approach baybak sees in advance and, possessing time stock, can disappear slowly in a hole, without having forgotten to warn relatives.
It is possible to tell, baybak it is capable to estimate danger degree : if the enemy far, a groundhog does not hurry in shelter. And if there pass a cow or small herd of goats nearby, baybak - especially old, skilled “fighter“ - simply ignores the newcomer. There were cases when baybak sharp sounds banished “violator“. If danger is actually big - special whistle follows, and right there all colony directs in shelter.
The groundhog lives in a hole many years - as differs in enviable longevity (in comparison with the majority of other rodents). Truly, popular wisdom in this case is given a concrete shape: baybak is born in a special nested chamber of a hole - a room for childbirth of a surchikha, and, having lived life full of dangers, leaves to die deeply under the earth …
In March, only on slopes of beams snow will descend, there are holes first baybak. All winter small animals slept very tight - during hibernation (similar to stay in “coma“) all processes in its organism are slowed down, baybak and breathes much more slowly that allows to spend more economically the saved-up stocks - simply speaking, to survive.
Hibernation - the only rescue for a steppe groundhog. The small animal - that large, not some squirrel or a chipmunk - to such giant will not be enough any stocks for winter, live it “as all“. And still baybak on spring get out of the holes toshchenky, very thin. And at once begin to look for the sprouting grass, are actively grazed all day, restoring the weight lost for long winter months.
In April and in May groundhogs leave “thoroughly to be supported“ only in the morning and before approach of twilight - is noticeable that by this time “the first hunger“ is already satisfied, and animals became quieter, more solid. Even, apparently, slightly recovered. In an interval between feedings when the sun dries up everything midday heat around, baybak disappear in a deep cool hole. They have a siesta!
Harm of a baybaka to the person is not done. Or to tell more precisely, harm to agriculture is minimum, character carries temporary, casual (if some clever men suddenly “self-capture“ opened the earth on which long since there lived steppe groundhogs), and therefore seriously cannot be considered, irrespective of degree of development of sense of humour at separately taken skeptic.
Baybak - a herbivore (unlike mice, for example, voles, lemmings and other representatives of the numerous tribe of rodents). He is fed mainly with green material wild-growing grassy, and regales “salatiky“ - eats during every period of summer only the youngest and gentle parts of plants. What, in turn, gives the chance to plants to grow again - in the same way the zealous owner mows clean repeatedly during the summer the lucerne or a clover on hay.
Matter of course, baybak wishes to try also kapustochka, young beans or peas, melon cultures and different root crops, even to taste shoots of cultural cereals - but it, besides, provided that someone not very clever impudently got on the territory of a small animal. Groundhogs in on crops do not go hiking, preferring to be fed at a hole - at distance of only ten - twelve meters. Sometimes, in lean years, during a drought baybak can depart on 15 - 20 meters - but it in 99% of cases its limit.
It is important to remember : at enough wild-growing plants the steppe groundhog never will begin to eat crops - yes he and does not seek to move on arable lands at all, even on “wild islands“ among fields - is uncomfortable to it in such conditions of “a total environment“.
In May at dwellings begin to look out very young a baybachata. Only recently were born - nearby, below, “children of a vault“, - and are already interested in the outside world. Actually, almost at all animals (and at people, too mammals) the youth is curious, it is important to it to master, understand, accept this new world. To fall in love, eventually …
Practically all summer of both adult, and young baybak can be observed within a colony. They do not leave far the rescuer - a hole.
But in August small animals obviously grew heavy, spend less time for surfaces - they are full, and full always pulls in a somnolence. Now, to find a baybak on a surface, it is necessary to show a certain patience. Inactive, fat small animals for hour or so - another leave a hole - taking out garbage. They clean the dwelling, preparing for approach of winter.
And at the beginning of September groundhogs already begin to lie down in hibernation. However, in October it is possible to see separate “uneasy inhabitants“ (not obligatory it is youth - leave “to warm stones“ in the last warm beams and “old men“). They stiffened directly over an entrance to a hole, luxuriate under the autumn sun …
But almost all their relatives, other inhabitants of a colony, watch sweet dreams in the zimovochny chambers located sometimes in three meters under the Earth`s surface for a long time sleep a deep healthy sleep. A hole and at this time - a reliable shelter not only from cold, but also from small tiresome predators as the owner closes an entrance to it massive (to meter length!) clay “stopper“.