Today the speckled group of squirrels with all near and far relatives totals almost 400 kinds. Perfectly adapting to different living conditions, these small animals have developed almost all climatic zones of the Earth.
Remains of the most ancient fossil rodents living about 60 million years ago, belong to primitive beings similar to fiber which have received the scientific name раrаmyidae. their sizes, as well as at modern belkoobraznyh rodents, fluctuated from the mouse to the beaver.
The Nearest recent descendant of prehistoric rodents is the mountain beaver living in the north of Pacific coast of the North America.
In a suborder belkoobraznyh rodents is seven families: fibers, beavers, mountain beavers, pocket gofery, shipohvosty, meshotchatye jumpers and kengurovye rats, and also dolgonogi. In effect, the unique general for all these animals line is the primitive device of maxillary muscles.
From all belkoobraznyh is most numerous and the family squirrel which, unlike many rodents, conduct a day way of life is rich with kinds. Besides earthen and wood squirrels and letjag, this family includes chipmunks, meadow doggies, usual and wood marmots.
All these animals are well adapted for external conditions. Sharp kogotki wood squirrels for whom as it is clear from the name, trees - a native home, allow them is tenacious to keep for a bark and tirelessly to rush on wood trunks, and the magnificent tail helps to keep balance during jumps on branches and serves as a warm blanket during a dream. Wood fibers are found in all corners of a planet, but of a special variety of kinds Central America and South East Asia can be proud.
At the squirrels-letjag, capable to plan from a tree on a tree on distances to 100 m, on each side bodies are available covered with fur kozhistye folds which finish in flight, as if parachutes. Almost all letjagi live in rainforests of South East Asia.
Earthen fibers are similar to the wood relatives, differing from them only short ears and not so fluffy tails. As many earthen fibers live in underground holes, pads at them are shorter and stronger, especially forward. Strong hinder legs are supplied by long claws with which it is convenient to dig the earth. At the majority of deserted earthen squirrels of a sole are covered by fur. Thanks to it they easily run on the heated sand, without burning a skin. A favourite inhabitancy of earthen squirrels - open steppes and semi-deserts of the North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Usual marmots, meadow doggies and wood marmots too live on the earth, more truly, underground. Squirrel these families nornye small animals differ from other representatives in larger sizes and a massive constitution. The nature has allocated with their short strong paws, considerably having truncated tails - approximately to one third of length of a body, - and at the same time has reduced it of a wooliness. Meadow doggies are in many respects similar to marmots though, as a whole, differ more harmonous figure, and the short tail with a black or white speck on the end too is much more modest than the squirrel. These rodents live everywhere in moderate widths of Northern hemisphere - mainly in mountains and on open plains, however the wood marmot prefers dense woods, and meadow doggies live exclusively on Great Plains the USA.
At small burunduchkov very capacious zashchechnye bags to which they transfer seeds and nutlets. This wood narodets lives in Asia and the North America.
Wood fibers suit dwellings in branches of trees, sometimes strengthening pair branches the thrown bird's nest and covering it inside a moss and a dry grass. Some earthen fibers choose for habitation secluded corners in heaps of stones or a dense underbrush. Chipmunks lodge in crevices of rocks or a windbreak, but the majority of earthen rodents digs own, sometimes rather spacious minks. For example, marmots live colonies to fifty individuals in grandiose systems of underground holes and courses.
Meadow doggies lodge communities to several thousand individuals where family groups live in the present underground cities the area about 65 hectares. Inputs and exits are easy for noticing on the earthen hillocks, rescuing minks from flooding.
the Basis of the squirrel diet make seeds and nuts, but they quite accept also other vegetative food in the form of mushrooms and berries, and also insects. A pleasant variety in a vegetarian diet is brought by the bird's eggs, and sometimes even baby birds and small reptiles.
Earthen fibers are fed in low grasses and an undersized bush, and meadow doggies without remainder eat everything that grows in immediate proximity from their underground colonies. First of all high plants are destroyed to improve the review and to deprive of shelter of possible enemies.
Many nornye rodents of this suborder, especially inhabitants of Northern hemisphere, for the winter run into hibernation. Some - for example, usual and wood marmots - are strenuously fed in the autumn to worry winter at the expense of the saved up fat. But chipmunks and earthen fibers collect stocks with which are supported, from time to time in minks. Wood fibers do not run into hibernation, but in a strong icy cold long do not leave warm nests.
In moderate widths pairing occurs after awakening of animals from hibernation, usually in the spring. The period vynashivanija lasts from 21 till 40 days, and cubs are born blind, naked and absolutely helpless. In one brood can be from one - two to nine kids, and some kinds do some broods for a year.
Cubs of the majority of kinds quickly grow and develop, warm fur coats grow at them already to the middle of the second week of a life, and eyes are cut approximately on the third-fourth week. At the age of six-seven weeks they are already ready to leave a nest and soon begin an independent life. At kids-letjag the most long childhood, and some kinds leave the parental house not earlier than 10-week age. The sexual maturity at many kinds comes at one-year-old age, and at large marmots a little later.
the Mountain beaver
Of 30-40 sm with a short and wide tail it is impossible to name This too tight and short stocky small animal growth by right neither the beaver, nor the mountain inhabitant. It is found only at Pacific coast of the North America - from a southern part of British Columbia to the Central California, - choosing for place habitation in a dense underbrush at heights from a sea level to the top border of growth of woods.
This night animal digs a hole in dry soil, supplying with its several inputs which conduct in the present labyrinth of underground bedrooms, pantries and even toilets.
Unpretentious in meal of the mountain beaver arranges any vegetative forage, which part it eats on a place, and the part drags off in a mink for emergency. Without being the dexterous spiderman, it, nevertheless, can scramble on 7-metre height to reach the attracted branch. On the way upward it leaves bits of branches which then serve as a support for paws at descent headfirst on a trunk. The mountain beaver does not run into hibernation, though collects impressive stocks for the winter.
The Sexual maturity at representatives of this kind comes at two-year age, and the 6-week period of pairing is necessary on the end of winter - the beginning of spring. Once a year the female brings 2-5 cubs. Absolutely helpless kids at a birth leave from a breast in two months, but before autumn are not expelled from a parental nest. Pocket gofery - unsurpassed masters of digging of holes and almost spend all life underground.
These small animals are found only in Northern and Central America - from the Western Canada to Panama. Within this area they meet almost everywhere where the soil approaches for digging of underground dwellings.
Well adapted for an underground life pocket gofery are thickset korotkolapye small animals with the scanty, almost hairless tail rather sensitive to the slightest touch. Their forward five-fingered paws are armed by powerful claws-picks. As the long bent cutters gofera too serve for earth digging, it 1убы are closed behind a teeth that the dirt did not get to a mouth. Therefore a teeth always flaunts on a kind and the same as claws, grow with improbable speed - at one kind to 1 mm a day.
By the name pocket gofer it is obliged voluminous zashchechnym to bags. Small animals transfer a forage to them, and for clearing can even turn them inside out.
Deeply underground gofer builds multiroom dwelling with the whole system of the courses conducting in nested chambers, warehouses of supplies and a toilet. The small animal necessarily lays one tunnel more close to a surface where it is possible to find tasty backs and tubers. This convinced individualist quite often shows aggression, jealously protecting the dwelling and territory. Its sizes are not always identical, but males usually occupy bolshy a site, rather than females.
These small animals considerably reduce activity during winter time though do not run into hibernation. After a short spring season of pairing males and females come back to a former lonely life. Pregnancy lasts 17-20 days, and in a brood can be from 2 to 11 cubs. To an excommunication from a breast kids six weeks constantly are at mummy. After two-three weeks they leave the parental house and start to dig own dwellings. The sexual maturity at males comes at one-year-old age, and females quite often start to deduce posterity already in three months, bringing some broods for a year.
Not absolutely fibers and not that that with the tail covered with thorns, these flying small animals are found in tropical and subtropical woods of the Western and Central Africa.
Shipohvosty conduct a nocturnalism, sleeping off in the afternoon in hollows of trees at height to 35 metres. By the form they are similar to fiber, but a tail not such fluffy as at wood relatives, and at the basis of a tail from the bottom party settle down rigid shipovatye cheshujki, growing edges back. With their help small animals are kept on a vertical wood trunk. From a tree on a tree they fly, having straightened kozhistye folds which, unlike the presents letjag, fasten not to a wrist, and to an elbow joint.
About these animals it is known much less, than about others belkoobraznyh rodents. Apparently, they live in solitude or steams, and eat a various vegetative forage - fruits, leaves, a bark, seeds and nuts, and also insects. Every night they overcome to 6,5 km in search of a food, but "эр фэхтъѕ" usually come back in a native nest.
Two times in a year of a female bring an issue from 1-3 cubs. Large enough and mobile kids are born in a fur fur coat and with open eyes.
This family includes kengurovye rats and small jumpers, and also prickly jumpers whom, in effect, it is impossible to name neither mice, nor rats. These animals live in the North America to the West from the river Mississipi, and their general area is stretched from Southwest Canada through all Central America to northwest regions of the South America. Meshotchatye jumpers, kengurovye rats and small jumpers live in deserts, and prickly jumpers feel cosier in tropical jungle and savannas.
As well as pocket gofery, these small animals use capacious zashchechnye bags for forage carrying over. The main course in their diet are the seeds which have been pulled out from plants by tiny forward pads. As required they will not refuse juicy greens, insects and another bespozvonochnoj living creatures. Some kinds of jumpers do not drink some water, receiving with food all necessary moisture. All these animals are fed in immediate proximity from the norok where it is possible to hide instantly in case of danger.
Meshotchatye jumpers more small kengurovyh rats and small jumpers, and with the long tail are much more similar to the present mice. Kengurovye rats and mice are in many respects similar against each other - unless rats a bit more largely. At those and others back finitenesses are much longer and stronger than lobbies.
These night animals live in spacious holes with chambers for a dream, deducing of posterity and storage of stocks. Being put to bed, they usually fall asleep an input in a hole from within an earth small group that the constant temperature and humidity inside remained.
Pairing at them, apparently, occurs at any time, and females bring an issue some times in a year. Cubs - from one to eight - are born in specially arranged nest.
The Unique member of this family - dolgonog - lives in sandy, porosshih a rare grass semi-deserts of East and Southern Africa. This owner of long back finitenesses and a fluffy tail is more similar to a small kangaroo and moves the same long jumps - to 3 m and more.
Dolgonog lives in a hole dug in a soft sandy ground. Its depth seldom exceeds 80 sm, but the total length of subways frequently reaches 45 m. Unlike others nornyh rodents of this suborder, dolgonog does not arrange in a hole of the nested chamber, but in it some exits and ways of deviation which help to escape from snakes and mongooses are provided.
Being night animals, dolgonogi with approach of twilight leave holes popastis on a juicy grass. As a rule, they are fed near to dwelling, especially in light moonlight nights when predators them see clearly. Though at themselves they live in holes, as on farms, dividing them only with posterity, but are grazed often by groups, possibly, for bolshej safety.
Pairing at dolgonogov occurs at any time, and females can to three times a year bring on one cub after 11-week vynashivanija. The newborn is completely covered by a wool, weighs nearby 300 g (weight adult animal - 3-4 kg), well see and at once is capable to move. Till 6-7 weeks it remains in a hole, eating parent milk, and then leaves on a surface and starts to be fed independently.