Caucasian, or as it is otherwise called - the Persian squirrel, - a mammal, a relative of an ordinary squirrel, belongs to the order of rodents, the squirrel family, the genus of squirrels. It does not have a small root molded tooth, for which it received an interesting name, translated from Latin, meaning "abnormal protein." Due to coarse fur and the relative small size of the population there is no commercial value for humans.
The appearance of the animal is no different from an ordinary relative. The difference is its small size and short coat. In length, her body reaches 25.5 cm, the total weight is up to 430 grams. Fluffy tail, short ears without tassels at the ends. Their length is only 2-3 cm. At first glance, inconspicuous distinctive features of the Persian squirrel from the usual - the presence of five and sometimes six corns on the paws in comparison with the four usual corns of an ordinary individual. Ten nipples on the chest also distinguish it from the common squirrel, which has only eight.
The color is relatively uniform, mostly gray-brown, varying from brown-brown on the sides to blackish-brown ripples on the back. Belly juicy orange, sometimes pure white. The color of the tail coat is chestnut, may be rusty, light brownish. At the end of the tail, the hair is longer, two-colored: from a black-brown shade at the base to a bright reddish tip. In winter, the color of the Persian squirrel does not change, only slightly darkened on the back and lightened on the abdomen. The Persian squirrel molts twice a year: in the middle of spring and in the beginning of autumn.
The shape of the muzzle is oval, slightly elongated. Almond-shaped small eyes peep out from under the flat forehead. On the front paws in the recess between the fingers and pads are sweat glands, which play an important role for the label as the property of the area chosen for living. The Persian animal has a very developed sense of smell, which makes it possible to determine the food under the ground or snow without much difficulty. The voice of a squirrel is sharp, well distinguishable, similar to the metal grinding of cheat-cheat. Average life expectancy is about 12 years.
For the first time, the Caucasian squirrel was seen in Georgia, in the foothill area of the slope at the foot of the Meskheti Range in the 18th century. The number of individuals living in the world is not defined, as a result of which they are not subject to protection by law. But it is known about the quantitative reduction of individuals over the past few decades by 20%. This is due to the spread and increase in the number of ordinary squirrels, which constitute competition in the production of food, deforestation and climate drying.
The animal lives in the modern world mainly in the territories of the countries of the Middle East and areas of the Caucasian isthmus. You can meet him in Asia Minor, Iran, areas of Transcaucasia, islands adjacent to the Aegean Sea.
The Caucasian squirrel chooses mixed forests with oak, chestnut and walnut trees growing there as a convenient locality for living. An area with a high grassy cover and tall overgrown oak trees is unsuitable for living. Coniferous forests in a bad year, it is avoiding because of the habitat in them of ordinary squirrels and the lack of food for living together with them.
An individual can live independently, in complete solitude, or in pairs. He is active in the afternoon, from early morning until late evening, not tired. Caucasian squirrel jumping, easily overcomes the distance from the branch to the branch length of 5 meters. Moving by jumping on trees, it can often descend to the ground if necessary and cross the territory. But still prefers a woody lifestyle. Does not migrate, leaving the habitat for short distances in search of food.
Danger for squirrels are such animals as weasel and marten, destroying newborn babies. In the case of impending danger, the animal chooses the tactics of fading in one place, clinging to a tree and hiding behind its trunk or crown of leaves. A person is a danger to the Caucasian squirrel as a destroyer of its natural habitat, cutting down and gradually reducing to zero the forests, where it mostly lives.
Swims in the water without hunting, does not hibernate in winter. The rodent lives in the hollow of a tree at a height of up to 14 meters from the surface of the earth or in the voids formed between the interweaving of the roots. For greater security, the place of residence equips several entrances and exits at once. The nest lays out in three layers: the first in the form of whole dry leaves of maple, linden or oak, the second layer consists of crushed leaves of the same trees, and the uppermost is lined with moss and fresh leaves. The Persian squirrel does not construct external nests, it only hides them inside the tree.
The daily diet of squirrels varies depending on seasonality and is mainly nuts, chestnut fruits, a variety of fruits and berries, emerging buds, young plant sprouts, mushrooms, seeds of cedar trees. From the juicy fleshy fruit of the protein extracts the nucleolus, which gives it the greatest value, the flesh of the fruit is not particularly interested in it.
In addition to herbal products, Caucasian squirrel can occasionally dilute its menu with animal food: eggs of birds, lizards and other invertebrates, chicks and various insects. Like ordinary Persian squirrel, it stores food for the winter, hiding it in the basal thickets of the tree. Her stocks are happy to feed and other rodents who have found them by chance.
In general, the choice of a specific food of the Persian individual depends directly on the season: in autumn and winter, these are tree seeds and edible reserves prepared for winter; in spring and summer, plant and animal food is mainly consumed.
The animal breeds throughout the year, mostly in January, April and July. Fruits several times a year, usually 2 times. Carrying babies lasts 30 days, at the same time up to 4 naked and blind squirrels are born. Within 6 weeks the female does not depart from them and actively participates in their life: feeds them and cares for them. At the age of 6 months, the young become independent and can already start families themselves.
It is very difficult to tame a Caucasian squirrel because of its timidity. In captivity, its maintenance is possible, but it rarely takes root, even at a young age. To provide the most favorable conditions for her to live and breed in captivity, you can give her a spacious aviary. In this case, the walls and ceiling of the cage must be covered with a metal grid, otherwise the squirrel will not linger there for a second. To ensure offspring, only one pair of individuals strong and healthy and accustomed to each other can be kept in the aviary. A greater number of squirrels will not create the necessary rest and solitude required to create offspring.