Rus Articles Journal

Where to find a live relict?.

... On a sloping slope of the hill whitish spots are visible - here chalk comes to a surface - and nearby strange “columns“ stiffened. Beams of the setting sun highlighted thickset figures. Little men are not little men, hobbits are not hobbits...

… Baybaki.

Is surprising creations!. And actually - RELIC animals. It is possible to tell, one of the first mammals - the Nature miracle, and are much more senior than the person who in vain is proud of the aggressive reason and an ancient origin.

can tell the Encyclopaedic dictionary to 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 - and 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 hunting which put a relic view of an extinction side by the beginning of last century began.

Was available also one more, not less tragic reason - the uncontrolled plowing of steppes which reached apogee at the beginning of the 19th century.

Soon colonies of steppe groundhogs remained only by miracle - otherwise it is hard to say - on the few (next to nothing) the lands which are not opened and not used in agriculture, rare virgin sites yes steppe beams. Strangely enough, the tsarism glorified nowadays in every possible way (for quite some time now it became fashionable) nearly drove a baybak into a grave - however, and many others.

A abused since the beginning so-called. “independence“ in every possible way the Soviet power, besides widely known Stalin repressions, caused a stir in care of dumb animals - and in the XX century the number of baybak considerably grew; not to tell that many times, but grew much more. By the beginning of disorder of the Union, for example, only within Ukraine colonies of a baybak were available in Starobelshchina (The Luhansk region) and Slobozhanshchina (more precisely, in the territory of Velikoburluksky district Kharkiv areas) where they, one may say, prospered thanks to the zoologist Victor Tokarsky and his colleagues 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 adjacent Belgorod and Voronezh areas, and also in other districts of Russia.

I is quite pertinent the quote “from those times here“:

“… For the purpose of carrying out actions for protection of the RELIC ENDANGERED species … the executive committee of regional council of deputies of workers decided to create in the territory of Velikoburluksky district the state baybachy wildlife area …“

By the way, despite the latest announcement of this district (on which there lived not only baybak, but also many other animals, grew “Red Book“ plants, there was the most rare colony of gray herons) National park, in days of “uncontrolled long-awaited independence“ in the reserved territory rather strong cottages began to grow (and continue to be built, despite the proceeding impoverishment of most of the population, today). And, the more cried out about freedom and independence, the more built palaces. But it is a separate subject for special research - if not to tell INVESTIGATION.

Baybak suits the housing in deep rather branched hole with rather big roundish entrance (perhaps, and from here “legs“ at tolkiyenovsky hobbits grow?.)

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 practically do not touch). Kurganchik can tower on meter “with a tail“, and diameter of “construction“ often exceeds five meters!.

Baybak living mainly on flat sites (in Jara, ravines it are exhausted by hard destiny together with a predator - the person), uses the kurganchik - a surchina - as observation post. Thus, danger approach baybak sees in advance - and, possessing time stock, can disappear without special haste in a saving hole - without having forgotten to warn relatives.

Can be told, 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 who beat off herd or small herd of goats nearby, baybak - especially old, skilled “fighter“ - simply ignores the newcomer. There were cases when baybak sharp sounds tried to banish hoofed “violator“.

If danger is actually big - special sharp whistle, the prevention - and right there all colony, not only “man on duty“ follows, all small animals direct in shelter.

a groundhog lives In a hole many years - as differs in enviable longevity (in comparison with the majority of other rodents). Truly, popular wisdom (about “… we will be born … and we will go to the earth …“) 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 hard 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“, in a coma) all processes in an organism of a small animal are slowed down, baybak even breathes much more slowly - that allows to spend more economically the saved-up stocks, and, simply speaking, to survive. To live up to spring.

hibernation - in fact, the only rescue for a steppe groundhog. The small animal - that large - not a mouse, 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 - as they say, “hunger isn`t like an aunt“!.

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!

do not do Harm of a baybaka to the person. 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

to remember: at enough wild-growing plants the steppe groundhog will NEVER begin to eat crops - yes he, baybak, 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.

A at the beginning of September groundhogs already begin to lie 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 for a long time (color or black-and-white, interestingly?) in the zimovochny chambers located sometimes in three meters under the Earth`s surface 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“.


… Near the modest rural estate of my relatives, near Pavlovsk - on - Don (the well-known Petrovsky places where the tsar Pyotr the First laid the foundation of the Azov flotilla - the sailing ships, galleys … here even names of villages breathe history - Gvazda, Klyopovo - where riveted and forced down together wooden details of future victorious sailing vessels that laid the foundation to future defeats of the Turkish armadas, viktoriya at the Black and Mediterranean seas - and a century later and in the Pacific Ocean what western “historians“ “modestly“ hold back), on cretaceous pasture, among poor and bitter steppe herbs where villagers vypasat cattle, there lived baybak.

With them, hobbits - groundhogs, in the steppe it was more cheerful. I remember, you pass by - and “person on duty“ gives an alarm signal, and right there, just a moment all family amicably and in coordination hurries in holes, without interfering with each other. Quickly, though it is ridiculous, not thin bodies roll over on short pads!.

Soon near the village structures of visitors - the strange people who were badly speaking in Russian, and on the local Cossack dialect reminding Ukrainian, not speaking at all that quite naturally grew. Other is strange. Foreign people did not hurry at all “make friends“ with locals.

began to vanish In old rural houses which never before were not locked things, money - villagers began to hang up locks on a door.

Soon became frequent other losses - hens, ducks, even pigs disappeared. Someone began to put traps, a drag-net, to catch baybak.

Was gone trust between people.

Disappeared also groundhogs …


the Internet Reduced according to a format - editions the text of the sketch about remarkable small animals read by you is in the main issue of the Life magazine here - ru/archive/0/n - 38980 /