Mammals of Kuzminskiy forest

Wood mouse

Kuzminskiy forest supports a number of mammalian species, but they are quite difficult to spot. Most species that is. The European red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) are virtually everywhere. They had their young in spring and now are busy raising the next generation. The Field mice (Apodemus agrarius) are reasonably common in the park, though they are not as conspicuous here as in Vorob’evy Gory. There are also Wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the park. I only ever saw them in one spot – at a bird feeder near the Upper Lake, and this species is quite shy and hard to photograph. I managed to grab one lucky shot when I noticed one of them run into a burrow under a bush. I aimed my camera at the burrow entrance and waited for it to come out. The burrow itself was really cute – it had a mushroom growing in the spot where a human house would have a chimney. The little guy came out and let me take a couple of images of itself, its burrow, the chimney and all.

European red squirrel

Field mouse

European mole

Young squirrel

The park is also home to a large population of European mole or Обыкновенный крот (Talpa europaea). The forest floor is dotted with little mounds created by their diggings. Though to see the animal itself is no easy fit. I’ve only seen a couple that turned up dead on the bank of a stream. One was taken by a Hooded Crow, but the second one, that turned up in the same spot a couple of weeks later, had no signs of predation on it.  These animals have an ingenious solution to fresh food storage and waste disposal situation. In late autumn they collect a huge number of earth worms and stash them in large piles inside their tunnels. In the cold weather the worms become very sluggish and cant crawl away. But since they are still alive the mole has a store of fresh food that lasts it all winter. In the spring, as the temperatures rise the left-over worms simply slither away. As I kid I saw a Water rat and I am told they still live in the ponds. There is a good population of European red foxes in the park, though I haven’t seen any, as I haven’t visited the park after dark. There are also rabbits, hedgehogs and probably a few more species of rodents.

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