SABLE

This is a typical dweller of the Siberian taiga. The sable is very strong predator taking into consideration its size. The weight of the male species is 1100–1800 gram; the females weigh 900–1500 gram. The animal lives above ground, moves in jumps; the length of one jump is 30-70 cm. The sable climbs trees very well. It has acute hearing and smelling with much worse sight sense. It moves easily on the loose snow.

The color of the fell is changeable, its variations have their own special names. “Golovka” – the darkest color (almost black); “Mekhovoy” – very light color (sandy-yellow or pale-yellow). The intermediate colors are “podgolovka” and “vorotovoy”. The latter is most common in Siberia – these fells are of brown tone with black stripe on the back, lighter flanks and large bright spot on the neck.

The sable is active in twilight and night-time, but it often hunts in daytime. The food of the animal mostly consists of mouse-like rodents, particularly red-backed vole. To the east from the Yenisey and Sayan Mountains the bigger role in sable’s nutrition is played by a mouse hare. The sable eats squirrels and hares. It also catches birds (hazel grouse and wood grouse) but the birds are generally only the minor source of the animal’s food. The sable likes plant food, especially pine nuts, ashberry and blueberry; it also willingly eats cowberry, blackberry, bird cherry, dog rose and currant.

The animal populates all the taiga to the north until the edge of silva. It prefers dark coniferous taiga, particularly dwarf pines. The most population density is found in the mountain taiga of Sayans and Kuznetsky Alatau.

The sable lives in nest refuges of the fallen trees’ hollows, in stone fields, under the roots. The whelping time is in the first half of May (in southern regions – in April). The reproductive age is from 2-3 years and up to 13-15 years. The coupling time is June-July. The gestation period is 250-290 days. There are 1 to 7 cubs in the offspring, usually 3-4. The change of coat ends in mid-October.