Gornostai for many centuries was considered a very valuable animal, fur, caps, collars and fur coats were made from noble persons. It belongs to the family of cunies, in appearance it resembles affection, but slightly larger than it. Depending on sex and geography, ermine sizes vary from 90 to 350 g, it should be borne in mind that males usually weigh twice as large as females. The length of the body is from 17 to 33 cm, and the tail - 12-13 cm. One of the smallest, but at the same time very bloodthirsty predators is ermine. The animal has 34 extremely sharp teeth.
Area of distribution of the ermine
The habitat of this small predator is quite common. The mountainous can be seen practically throughout the European territory, in the northern part of Asia, in New Zealand, and in North America. In Eurasia, the area of distribution from the north is bounded by the coast of the Arctic Ocean, and from the south by the zone of subtropics. In this case, animals do not care where they live. They feel great both on the plains and in the mountains. For example, ermines often climb to a height of 3-4 km, so they are found in the Himalayas and the Pamirs.
Habitat of the animal
Like many other tundra animals, the ermine leads a sedentary life. If there is enough food in the occupied territory, the animal is unlikely to leave it, especially in the cold season. If the predator settled in the floodplain, then his personal possessions usually stretch along the coast, they can occupy about 10-30 hectares. But on the terraces of ermine dominate in the territories up to 100 hectares. With a shortage of feed, animals do not remain permanently in one locality, preferring to lead a vagabond way of life.
In winter, the ermines mostly live near the villages, but with the onset of flooding they leave for the neighboring forests. They swim very well, so they are able to cover huge distances. The hills usually live in burrows of rodents eaten by them, in old hollow stumps, in a heap of straw or hay, between crevices of rocks, in a pile of stones, in abandoned buildings.
Basic diet of the ermine
In summer small predators can eat insects and amphibians, but in winter the basis of the diet is fish. In the Far East, in small rivers near the ice, many young fish die, which becomes the prey of quick and clever ermines.
Features of reproduction
Like all animals from the family of cunies, only at the age of a month opens the eyes of an ermine. The animal quickly develops, already in a month and a half baby can give a voice at the approaching threat, besides it is characterized by excessive aggressiveness and mobility. At the age of two months, the young ermine go out of the nest, play with each other for a long time, make the first attempts to independently procure food. Already at the age of four months the animals leave the female and seek a place under the sun. At large, predators live no more than 4 years. In captivity up to 7 years old ermine can live. The animal is actively caught by people because of the beautiful fur, so in most cases the animal dies young.
Ratio of ermine to man