Life in snow

Mice footprintsIn winter each of us have seen large mammals through the car window, but how with the snow blankets coexists small animals: insectivores - shrews and moles, rodents – mice and voles, small carnivores?Moles are active all winter. They use the opportunity to live above ground, installing their cave just below the snow. Moles continue to feed on earthworms and insects. From one compartment to another moles move through the walkways dag into the snow. Shrews’ rapid metabolism causes them to be in continuous motion for foraging. These animals do not dig aisles themselves, but use spaces below the strains, fallen trees, and small rodents’ caves. While strong frost shrews may stay on the snow surface just a few minutes, otherwise it chills to the bone. Russian zoologist A. Formozovs describe how ferret startled voles when get onto the snow surface, manage to outrun only four meters when freeze.

Under the snow, rodents feel so good that they even reproduce. In the snow caves accumulates feed residues, which form a kind of fixtures. Snow caves and installed nesting ice. Frozen snow protect mice’s nest even from foxes. Snow crust prevents foxes from breaking into the mouse’s cave. Of course, foxes are just one of the predators who are longing for mice drumsticks. Ermines and weasels can occur at any time and place. Predators’ long, slim body is ideally suited to prowl through rodent caves. Largest ferrets and minks are more robust hunters - destroying rodents cave network. Mice nesting dig out martens, foxes, raccoon dogs and wolves. Above the snow ravens, crows and buzzards waylay rodents.

Vigo Kangars, explorer