What for an animal such - imurang? Circles across Altai ofOnce, in that, other, socialist life, in notebooks of Chekhov I came across very beautiful, but unknown word “èìóðàíã“. This quote: “Dream of the inspector of a zoo. Dreams that endow in a garden at first of a baybak, then an imuranga, then a hawk, then a goat, then again …“ Then I quickly found an imurang in the encyclopedia that “èìóðàíã“ and right there safely forgot it.
In June, 2014 we from Barnaul go to the country of Basargino where we annually take a course of antler bathtubs, and suddenly the driver speaks:
- you look, imurang run.
Here it was also remembered that imurang are the Altai gophers, but not just gophers, and gophers glorified. About them even legends were put. One of them such amusing turned out that I want you to acquaint with it.
Once in the winter a hungry bear - the rod ruined a hole of a chipmunk and ate all his stocks. The chipmunk from a grief hung himself, and imurang, having learned about it, decided to teach a good lesson the robber. It brought together the whole imurangovy army and they began to shout at a bear. And it is necessary to notice that they shout whistle, already this whistle is shrill that bears literally go crazy. Here and this ran away into mountains where on one of glades of an imuranga it was surrounded and began to run around and to shout. The bear with fear began to be turned on the place, did not wear out the legs to ears yet. Then the leader of imurang hung up to himself on a breast these ears as it is known that that imurang more abruptly which more bear ears for the life will collect.
Here therefore many locals consider that imurang are not so harmless at first sight little rodents, but the real fighters of the Altai bears. But it is a legend, and here who they are actually, these imurang?
It appears, imurang - the representative of a species of long-tailed North American gophers, widespread in Canada and on Alaska. At us in the country they were settled in the huge territory - from Chukotka, Kamchatka, Sakhalin and Magadan to the South of Eastern and Western Siberia and Yakutia. The only difference - that population that in the East of Russia lives, the size is slightly more and nickname her “evrazhka“ there, and any not “imurangy“, and so the exact copy: the tail reaches nearly a half of length of a body, ears from - for backs are visible also back a foot very big.
We saw them often, but always only in the summer when a back at them it is dark - brown or ryzhevato - brown, with black and whitish specks, sides red, and a paunch ryzhevato - yellow. In the winter they, judging by books, is much lighter and the fur at them is more dense and longer, with a powerful underfur. They change the dresses twice a year: in April - on summer, and in August - September - on winter.
Imurang, as well as all numerous species and subspecies of gophers, belong to family squirrel therefore they in many places and are called - cape ground squirrels. Imurang - small animals not really - that and big, hardly - hardly hold out in length up to 30 - 33 cm, but the size of a hinder leg at them impresses - 4,3-4,8 cm, and the tail is in general to 15 cm of a fluffy whisk which flutters over the head of the small animal bolting at full speed or, probably, it is necessary to tell paws, to some secluded town at any sign of danger.
Imurang on steppe open spaces, on glades and edges of the wood, dumetose, on river coast, stony slopes of mountains, on islands and in other similar places are settled. Live in holes which dig with big art. Holes are long, to 15 meters, often have two exits. In a hole there is a number of branches, one of which comes to an end with a nested chamber of a spherical form, with the bottom covered by a dry grass, leaves and hair of pets. There are also branches used as a toilet, storerooms, a “saving“ chamber in which the gopher can hide during flooding at a flood. In the fall, being put to bed, the gopher closes entrance openings sandy traffic jams.
Young gophers are born at the very end of May, the beginning of June. In a dung happens, as a rule, from 4 to 7 suslit, soon after the birth they begin to come to a surface, and in a month leave a parental nest and are settled in other holes, beginning independent life. Long-tailed gophers are rather freedom-loving and like to travel. Cases when they were found for 100 km and more from the birthplace are noted. At the same time they are capable to cross even such powerful rivers as Yenisei.
These nice small animals eat generally vegetable food: in the early spring - roots and bulbs of plants, then their stalks, leaves and, at last, seeds. Prefer bean - a clover, a lucerne and the tributary. At the same time they willingly eat insects, preferring a locust, bugs and ants, wasps, bumblebees. At the same time gophers do not disdain baby birds and smaller rodents.
As well as other species of gophers, imurang reserve for winter of a forage. At the same time there are stocks they begin in the spring after awakening.
In turn, imurang are favourite food of the diverse fur wild animals, such as a fox, korsak, a polecat, and winged predators, all hawks and kites.
Here it is necessary to remember that not very long ago skins of gophers including long-tailed, were actively prepared as raw materials for the fur industry. Women of my age perfectly remember the easy, soft and very beautiful coats, palatines, pelerines, scarves and other fur products sewed from dressed skins of these animals. I often was on official business at Suburban fur factory “Belka“ which name very precisely defines types of the raw materials processed at this enterprise. Skins of a squirrel and other small fur-bearing fur animals made considerable part of a source of raw materials of factory. Among them skins of a gopher took the lawful place.
The figures showing volumes of processing of skins of small fur animals in the USSR are curious. So, in 1934 330 thousand pieces of skins of a gopher were prepared and processed. Many skins were in 60 - e years - to 308 thousand, by the end 70 - x preparation volume fell a little, in 1976 was purchased the population of 228 thousand skins. Then sharp recession - to 20 - 30 thousand followed. Well, and now these skins, apparently, are necessary to nobody and there are no place to process them already and there are nobody.