Several pristine and harsh beauty of the taiga nature has always agitated the minds of people: there is in it a certain fascination, mystery and even mysticism… How many writers dedicated their works to this area are: animals, plants, man’s relationship with nature in its unspoiled, natural state. And so many travelers, explorers, tourists are captivated by the beauty of the taiga, and not to consider.
What is the taiga? Taiga is the coniferous forests in the Northern latitudes. In Russia such forests are found in the Urals, in Eastern and Western Siberia, Baikal, Altai, far East.
The climate in these latitudes is quite severe:
- A long winter with low temperatures (to minus 40-50 degrees, and in Eastern Siberia and below are the winter temperature), with heavy snowfall;
- Summer is short and often hot — to +35-40 degrees, but almost no precipitation, so taiga frequent fires.
What animals live in the forest — those who are able to withstand such a climate. Some representatives of the taiga animals are able to cope with the severity of the winter, others hibernate. Some species migrate to southern areas where the climate is more favorable.
Similar can be said about the other flora and fauna of the taiga world: there are able to survive only the most robust, able to adapt to anyone not giving concessions to the climate, plants and animals.
Animals of the taiga
Despite the fact that the variety of animal species in the forest not so vast, as, for example, in deciduous forests, but still not so small — more than 40 species of mammals, rodents, birds, insects and other forest fauna.
The most well-known animals:
- Brown bear;
- The musk-deer;
- Fox and others.
Talk a little about some of them:
- Bear is the most famous representative of the animal world of the Russian taiga and Russia in particular (hardly to whom is the secret the fact that for many people in Western countries that bear is associated with Russia). Russian forest without bear, the African Savannah without elephants. It is a large, powerful animal weighing up to 600 kg, and its “growth” (if I may say so about the beast) can reach two meters! The bear is a formidable adversary. He’s strong, his legs is a powerful weapon: not only that, the impact of this “foot” will strike down almost any animal, and “manicure” on those legs can cause severe injury — bear claws reach 10 cm, But here’s what’s interesting: despite its power, the main diet (70-80%) brown bears — plant foods (berries, succulent shoots, acorns). Not averse to Teddy bears, and rodents, fish, insects — they’re great hunters! No wonder the bear is called “master of the taiga”.
- Lynx — despite its seemingly fun (“brushes” on the ears, nice short tail, like a domestic cat, albeit major) is a serious predator and excellent hunter. First and foremost, its prey are hares, partridges, “the pigs are” boars, young elk, deer, grouse, partridges. Size lynx can be compared with a large dog in the shoulder it is only about 70 cm, its weight 18– 25 kg.
- Badger is the representative of the weasel family (by the way, the only one of this family, who in the winter goes into hibernation). This non-aggressive animal: it will prefer to withdraw, to hide in a hole, but not to attack. However, if you make him angry, the badger can bite, punch his nose, and then still try to escape. The badger is a nocturnal animal, day him to meet rarity. Badgers live in burrows that they dig on the slopes of ravines, gullies and hills. These animals feed on animal food: rodents, frogs, birds and their eggs, insects. But berries and mushrooms badgers their attention not deprived.
- Musk deer , a close “cousin” of deer. Very beautiful and incredibly graceful animal. It runs fast and is very good at jumping: musk deer are capable of running without reducing the speed to change the running direction by 90 degrees, and her jumps will envy the tightrope walkers — gathering food, she can climb a sloping tree trunk, leaping from branch to branch to a height of 3-4 m. Able to confuse their tracks (almost like a rabbit) when she has to flee from persecution. Feeds on grasses, lichens, needles of fir and cedar. The animal has many natural enemies: kharza, lynx, Wolverine, Fox. The life expectancy of musk deer in the wild only about 5 years. In addition to raptors, musk deer suffer and poachers. And all because the male musk deer has a special gland that produces the musk — the most expensive product of animal origin. It is used in medicine and in the manufacture of perfumes (like locking the smell).
- Columns — small carnivore of the genus weasels and ferrets. Coring is often compared to mink. And no wonder: according to their genetic traits, they are very close to the European mink. This little animal: its size is only about 30 cm (from nose to base of tail). The column is very beautiful tail: long (more than half of the body) and very fluffy almost like marten. It feeds mainly on small rodents, frogs, and occasionally preys on hares and birds. Do not hesitate columns and insects, frogs, fish. It hunts mainly at night or dusk. The main “competitor” column — Sobol, who usually tries to expel the column of the chosen places.
- Chipmunk — cute little animals. Their favourite food is pine cones. Live chipmunks in the tree stumps, hollows, shallow burrows under tree roots. During the cold weather, this animal goes into hibernation, which lasts as much as 7 months!
- The ermine is another small predator that dwells in the forest: the size of it is just 17-38 cm and a weight of 70 gr. and 260 gr. But the tail weasels noble: to 12 cm (and it’s in such a little body). The weasel is an excellent hunter. Preys mainly on rodents: hamsters, lemmings, voles, etc. Natural enemies are foxes ermine, sable, birds of prey, Martens, etc. because Of its beautiful fur, the ermine is hunted person on it, and still have long: finishing from fur of this animal is very loved by the representatives of higher officials and kings in many countries around the world. Although this fur is very fragile, but its cost is prohibitively high: the fur of the ermine is not called “the fur of kings.”
- Sable — animal, which is known for its gorgeous coat in winter the sable fur is soft, silky to the touch. But in the summer the animal is not very beautiful: like a regular cat, thin, but with huge ears. Sables — good hunters, and hunt they devote most of the time. Their prey are small rodents, birds (e.g., grouse). But sable loves plant food: pine nuts, cranberries.
Birds of the taiga
The world of the taiga is not only limited to animals, birds in the forest dwells too much:
Only in the forest, there are about 260 species of birds — all have enough space in these vast forests, malozatraten human intervention.
Fish of the taiga
Taiga river full of fish. In them you can find such representatives:
- Perch, etc.
Plants of the taiga
Easier to say what plants in the forest there, than to list those that there. But main, of course, is conifers.
The taiga zone of Russia can be divided into three subzones: the southern, middle and Northern:
- In the Northern part grow mostly dwarf trees: cedars, pines, firs.
- In the middle subzone — spruce-blueberry fields.
- The southern subzone is the most diverse in flora.
Taiga forests have their own feature — due to growth of old trees, the sunlight on the plants gets very few because in these woods there is practically no undergrowth. But there is enough moss, which favors the growth of shrubs: blueberry, juniper, cowberry, honeysuckle. Taiga is rich and medicinal plants and herbs: you can find Wintergreen, sorrel, and many others.
Animals and plants of the taiga is still astonishing in its diversity and magnitude. One can only marvel at how it all harmoniously coexist in this not very hospitable forest world. Therefore, the task of man is to preserve these forests, their inhabitants, trying to make the onslaught of civilization as little as possible to the detriment of wildlife and the Red book of the taiga ceased to replenish with new kinds of animals that disappear, not without “help” people.