Short-eared Jumper - A Tiny Mammal


Prygunchiki - very interesting mammals with a thin movable proboscis and long hind legs. They live exclusively in Africa. Animals are quite ancient, but for the first time in the scientific literature they were described only in the middle of the 19th century. After another 100 years, several short notes about their biology appeared in the press, and only in the last decades knowledge about jumpers became enriched, and the scientific world recognized that jumpers are truly unique.

Prygunchikovye, or jumpers (Macroscelididae) - the family of African mammals. At first, the jumpers, together with other insectivorous animals, were assigned to the Insectivora order, later they were ranked as distant relatives of ungulates, then they were brought together with the stupids in the Menotyphla suborder. At present, most biologists consider them to be an independent monotypic detachment of Macroscelidea, close to rodents and lagomorphs. However, thanks to modern research methods, more and more scientists are inclined to believe that Macroscelidea, like elephants, damans, aardvores, gold mortals and tenreks, belong to the ancient branch of African mammals - to the superorder of Afroterei. They all descended from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 60 million years ago.

Where do the jumpers live?

These daytime inhabitants of extreme living spaces are found only in Africa (with the exception of West Africa and the Sahara), where they occupy a variety of habitats. Some species prefer deserts, steppes or savannas, others - stony shrub plains, third - rocky scree, fourth - thickets of mountain forests.

What do jumpers look like?

Outwardly, jumpers resemble large jerboas. The length of the body of animals together with the head, depending on the species, varies from 10 to 30 cm, they weigh from 45 to 500 grams. The tail of the animals is long, almost equal to the length of the body, covered with short hair. The fur is thick and soft, of various shades of gray and brown.

It is said that God, creating a jumper, seemed to play in transformers: he took the hind limbs from a kangaroo, body and tail from a rat, and a proboscis from an elephant. Some species also have cheek pouches, like hamsters, with jumpers laying food supplies in them. In fact, such an unusual combination of features is a very expedient adaptation of animals to difficult living conditions.

The most surprising thing about a jumper is, perhaps, a long thin proboscis. The animal can raise it, lower it and make it rotational motion. Such an unusual nose helps the jumper to perfectly feel the prey - ants, worms and other invertebrates.

Elongated hind feet with relatively high heels resemble kangaroo limbs. Although the jumpers in jumpers are not as well developed as in the jerboas, many species travel long distances, bouncing slightly. The hind limbs also help the animals in danger - they flee from the enemies with long jumps. Thanks to the long legs and the extensive system of paths, it is not difficult for a jumper to leave far behind his pursuers - snakes and carnivorous mammals. However, the usual method of movement jumpers - walking on four legs.

All jumpers have a long tongue that they can stick out beyond the tip of the nose and pull small prey into their mouths.

Hoopers are pretty good-natured creatures. When they are taken in hand, their very well developed teeth are used very rarely.

Features lifestyle jumpers

Jumpers are mainly diurnal, showing activity even in the hottest hours. These are land animals only.

The diet of jumpers consists of spiders, beetles, centipedes, ants, termites, earthworms, as well as fruits and seeds.

The animals have well-developed odorous glands. In different species, they can be located in the root of the tail, on the chest or on the soles of the feet. The secret of the odor glands is used by animals not only for communication with their relatives, but also allows them to mark the path traveled and navigate in space.

Most jumpers can communicate using sounds. Some species emit beeps, banging their hind legs on the ground, others lash their tails on the litter. If you catch a jumper, it makes sharp high sounds.

Rod of Proboscis Dogs

The genus Proboscis dogs (Rhynchocyon), which includes 3 species, are the largest members of the family:

  1. Spotted proboscis dog (Rhynchocyon cirnei),
  2. Golden proboscis dog (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus),
  3. Peters proboscis or red-haired proboscis (Rhynchocyon petersi).

Proboscis dogs live in the thickets of valley and mountain forests of Central and East Africa. Body length is on average 23-31 cm, weight 400–440 g.

Proboscis dogs are usually kept in pairs. Each couple occupies an area of ​​1600 to 6000 sq. M. Although monogamy is characteristic of these species, the interaction within the pair is very limited. The female and male spend very little time together. They share a common area and protect it separately: the male ensures that the male aliens do not invade the territory, and the female expels the alien females.

They usually move along certain paths, both along their own and along the path laid by other animals. Active in the daytime, and spend the night in a nest of leaves in the forest floor.

The diet mainly consists of ants and termites, willingly eat other invertebrates. Golden proboscis dogs spend almost all day in search of food. Like nosukhs, they do it with the help of their long rolling nose-probe. Other species of this genus, in addition to the nose, also use forelimbs for searching for food, which have three long claws. The claws help the animals to dig out small conical holes in the soil.

Rod Long-eared jumpers

The genus Elephantulus includes:

  1. Short-nosed ivory jumper (Elephantulus brachyrhynchus),
  2. Edward's Elephant Jumper (E.edwardii),
  3. Rocky Elephant Jumper (E. rupestris),
  4. Dark ivory jumper (E. fuscipes),
  5. Bush elephant bouncer (E. intufi),
  6. Golden-tailed ivory jumper (E. myurus),
  7. Revual's Elephant Jumper (E. revoili),
  8. Zamzebian ivory jumper (E. fuscus),
  9. North African Elephant Jumper (E. rozeti),
  10. Red ivory jumper (E. rufescens).

Representatives of this genus are not large: body length - 10-14 cm, tail 10-16 cm, mass of animals - 25-50 g.

The bare-tailed and rocky elephant jumpers mostly live on rocky scree and pebbles in South Africa, the North African elephant jumper is found in semi-arid mountain habitats in the extreme north-west of Africa, other species of this genus inhabit the steppes and savannas of South and East Africa.

Eat mainly insects, plant foods occupy a small proportion of the diet.

Rocky and shrub jumpers dig for shelter shallow burrows in sandy soil or, if the soil is solid, use rodent burrows for this purpose.

An important role in the life of the red elephant jumper is played by footpaths, which are continuous cleaned tunnels in the forest floor. In order for the animals to run at maximum speed along them, the paths must be kept in perfect purity. When the animal has to flee from a predator, even one small branch can become a hindrance and lead to sad consequences, so the animals do not forget to clean their tracks regularly. Approximately 30% of daylight hours every day at jumpers takes to inspect the network of their paths and restore order - the fallen leaves, branches and other debris animals quickly cast aside the front paws.

Genus Forest Jumpers

The only species of the genus (Petrodromus) is a four-toed forest jumper (Petrodromus tetradactylus). The species has medium size: body length 16-22 cm, tail - 13-19 cm. It is found in subtropical and tropical forests, in humid regions of mountains and savannas of Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, etc.

This species does not build nests, does not shelter and does not live in burrows. As for the red elephant jumper, paths are of great importance for this species.

Family matters

Although the jumpers look different and live in a variety of habitats, their sexual behavior is quite similar. Golden and velvet shoulder proboscis, four-fingered, rocky and short-eared jumpers live in monogamous couples, but spend little time together. In the tropics, jumpers bring offspring several times during the year, and at high latitudes, breeding becomes seasonal and usually falls on the wet season.

Depending on the species, the pregnancy lasts from 42 days (for golden proboscis dogs) to 57-65 days (for red elephant jumpers). In broods, usually 1-2 cubs occur, and only the North African jumper and the spotted proboscis dog often bring 3 cubs each. Babies are born already covered with fur and well developed. Only the offspring of short-eared pranksters spend the first few days of life in the nest, other species almost immediately after birth begin to follow the mother everywhere. The female takes care of the offspring, as a rule, alone, the male helps her little. Already at the age of 1.5 months, jumpers reach sexual maturity.

Under natural conditions, the age of jumpers is not long enough - an average of 2.5-3 years, in captivity they live a little longer.

Conservation in nature

The golden proboscis dog, the Peters proboscis dog, the Revual elephant jumper, are in a state that arouses fears. The spotted proboscis dog, the short-eared jumper, the elephant jumper Edward and the rocky elephant jumper are vulnerable. Golden proboscis dogs and four-fingered forest jumpers on the coasts of Kenya are caught and used as food.

But most of all populations of jumpers are threatened by deforestation. It will be a terrible loss if after 50 million years of its existence, due to the destruction of their habitats, the jumpers will disappear from the face of the earth.

Social behavior

Animals are single, couples are always formed only for the mating period. If the couple does not break up, then there is always a reason for this - for example, the small size of individual plots, the lack of shelters or limited feed reserves. But even in these cases, the jumpers live on the same territory, not communicating with each other. Such a system can be called a system of latent partnership: there is no cooperation between individuals, everyone lives by himself

Life History at the Zoo

The experience of the content of bouncer shows that there must be a heat point in the aviary - heating. This place under the lamp is actively used by animals. The air must be dry. The daily ration should contain a variety of feed, as the animals eat a little, but each time a different food.

Jumpers can be seen in the exhibition enclosure of the pavilion “Night World”, where sandy soil and branches in the upper tier are poured. Elephant jumpers live together with African dormouse. Since animals use different tiers of aviaries, they get along well together. Previously, jumpers also got along well with striped mice, and there was no aggression between animals.

Feeders in the aviary are located on the litter in specially equipped pots. The daily diet of jumpers includes insects, fruits, shredded carrots, cottage cheese, a cool egg, crushed nuts, greens (lettuce, dandelions, cabbage), baby food. Water is necessarily given in abundance. While eating jumpers a little, they should always have fresh food.

Currently, the zoo is not represented at the exhibition.

Research work with this species in the Moscow Zoo

1. G.V. Vakhrusheva, I.A. Alekseicheva, OG Ilchenko, 1995 "Short-eared elephant jumpers: keeping and breeding in captivity, the experience of artificial feeding of cubs", Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 5

2. S.V. Popov, A.S. Popov, 1995 "Does changing the conditions of the content affect the behavior of short-hearing elephant jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus) ?, Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 5

3. A.S. Popov, 1997 "Some peculiarities of the behavior of short-eared elephant jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus) at the exposition of the Moscow Zoo", Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 9

4. S.P. Sapozhnikova, OG Ilchenko, G.V. Vakhrusheva, 1997 “Normal weights of short-eared ivory jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus) in conditions of bondage”, Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 9

5. S.V. Popov, O.G. Ilchenko, E.Yu. Olekhnovich, 1998 “Animal Activity at the Night World Exposition”, Scientific Research in Zoological Parks, Issue 10

6. S.P. Sapozhnikova, OG Ilchenko, G.V. Vakhrusheva, 1998 "The behavior of short-eared ivory jumpers when forming pairs", Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 10

7. O.G. Ilchenko, G.V. Vakhrusheva, 1999 “Dynamics of daily activity of the family group of short-eared elephant jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus), Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 11

8. O.G. Ilchenko, G.V. Vakhrusheva, S.R. Sapozhnikova, 2003 "Reproduction of short-hearing elephant jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus) in the Moscow Zoo", Scientific research in zoological parks, issue 16

External description of the short-eared jumper

The short-eared jumper has the smallest size among the entire family of jumpers. The length of his body is no more than 12.5 centimeters.

But the tail of these animals is quite long. Its length ranges from 9.7 to 13.7 centimeters. In general, we can say that the appearance of the short-eared jumper is typical for members of the family in which it belongs.

Short-eared jumper (Macroscelides proboscideus).

The characteristic thin muzzle of the short-eared jumper is extremely strongly extended. Compared to other jumpers, the ears of the animal are rounded much stronger and somewhat shorter than in other representatives of this genus.

The first finger on the hind legs has a claw and is small in size. The coat is soft, thick and fairly long.

The upper body is orange-yellow, pale gray, pale dirty yellow, sandy brown or blackish. The belly is usually white or grayish.

The short-eared jumper, unlike other members of the family, lacks the characteristic bright rings around the eyes.

The female of the short-eared jumper has three pairs of nipples, and its skull is distinguished by extremely large bone hearing drums. The dental formula of these bouncer is 40. Interestingly, the upper incisor of this rodent is relatively small. Bright rings around the eyes, characteristic of other jumpers, are absent. The tail is very well trimmed and has a distinguishable odorous gland on its lower side.

Short-eared jumper lifestyle

Short-eared jumpers inhabit the semi-deserts and savannas of the southwestern part of South Africa, inhabiting such countries as South Africa, South Botswana and Namibia. The total area of ​​distribution of the short-eared jumper is more than half a million square kilometers.

Prygunchik settle in shrub savannas and semi-deserts.

Short-eared jumpers are predominantly daytime living and are active even in the hot hours of the day. Moreover, at this time, these animals love to take dust baths or bask in the sun. Changing your daily activity regime and searching for food during the twilight time of a short-eared jumper can only be a threat from its natural enemies, among which various birds of prey are the main ones. In this case, showing activity at twilight time, the short-eared jumper will hide in the vegetation during the daytime. As a refuge, they, as a rule, choose empty burrows left after other rodents.

The lifestyle of the short-eared day jumper, the animal is also active in the hot hours of the day, when it is heated by the sun or takes dust baths.

However, one should not think that the short-eared jumper is able to live only in other people's homes. If no suitable free apartment was found, he can dig a hole himself. In any case, in the sandy soil they do it very well. They also like to dig minks near shrubs, especially at their roots.

As a rule, short-eared jumpers lead a solitary way of life and, living in natural conditions, prefer to stay alone. And only in the mating season, they are combined in pairs. The total area that the jumper occupies is usually one square kilometer.

As a refuge for a jumper are empty rodent or burrow holes dug by the jumper itself in sandy soil.

A little background of the short-eared jumper

The history of the study of this species is somewhat reminiscent of a joke. Only not life-situational, but scientific.

Springboks consume a small amount of plant food - plant shoots, roots and berries.

When this animal was discovered in the south of the African continent, biologists immediately tried to determine who he was, which was quite a natural desire. But who does he look like? In general, no one else, except for other such jumpers. At first, the short-eared jumper was assigned to the squad of insectivores, considering that they are close relatives of hedgehogs, shrews and moles. Однако спустя некоторое время ученые мужи, внимательно присмотревшись к этому млекопитающему, «одумались» и, приглядевшись к некоторым чертам внутренней организации короткоухого прыгунчика, решили, что больше всего он похож, как это ни дико звучит, на примата! Вслед за этим, было высказано предложение объявить прыгунчиков примитивными представителями отряда приматов.

Short-eared jumpers are kept mostly singly and only during the mating season - in pairs.

Paleontologists did not stand aside and suggested that the jumpers are not primates for the simple reason that they are close relatives of ancient hoofed animals. So, in a very short time, the jumper managed to visit a relative and hedgehogs and monkeys and horses. This uncertainty apparently didn’t please the scientific world, and the scientists holding different views decided to separate these funny animals into a separate detachment belonging only to them, which was given the Latin name Macroscelidae.

Breeding short-eared jumper

In natural conditions of life, short-eared jumpers lead a solitary lifestyle, despite the fact that in conditions of bondage they prefer a pair lifestyle. The breeding season continues in August-September. The duration of pregnancy is approximately 56-61 days. At the end of this period, the female gives birth to two young or, more rarely, one. Females are not satisfied with the nests for birth, and the offspring are born in a normal burrow or shelter.

Cubs are born well developed, covered with hair and with open eyes. Just a few hours after birth, they are able to run.

For the first time, the female feeds the young with milk immediately after their birth. Moreover, if two cubs are born, then the feeding of the first one can take place simultaneously with the birth of the second one. The gorged children go to one of the shelters, where they sit quietly. Interestingly, at this time, parents are not too interested in their offspring, indulging in a hectic love relationship. And subsequently, they continue to behave in a similar way, living almost exclusively for their own sake and as if forgetting that they have offspring.

As for children, they relate to such parental carelessness done perfectly and sit side by side in the house, only occasionally leaving the shelter, exploring the surrounding space and tasting adult food. As for their parents, they use other shelters for rest. And if in the process of moving through space they stumble upon their young, then do not pay any attention to them.

The breeding season of the short-eared jumper occurs in August-September.

However, closer to the end of the day, the mother, as if recalls that she actually has children and goes to the house to perform the duties assigned by nature, jealously rushing to educate the youth.

At the same time, she can grab the teeth of any of her child, who only comes first to her, after which she drags him to the shelter, and often not the one that was chosen by the young themselves.

When a small jumper finds himself in an unfamiliar mink, he immediately runs away from there and usually encounters his mother, who is already dragging another cub. Then the situation repeats and the kids change places several times.

The female does not protect the offspring, returning to it only once a day to feed on milk.

It is interesting to note that in the process of carrying such offspring, the female shows rare enthusiasm and this “carousel” continues until the pups get tired and give up.

After this, the second stage begins in the life of young people and if earlier the female did not show much interest in them, now all attempts of the cubs to leave the shelter chosen by the mother for their offspring are harshly suppressed by the watchful parent. True, after the female discovers that she has put things in order in this matter, she immediately grows cold to this educational aspect that her children immediately use.

In nature, the life span of a short-eared jumper is small - 1-2 years, in captivity - up to 3 years.

After that, the mother has the following "fix-idea" - feeding babies. She begins to approach the cubs and gently poke her nose in their backs. The cub takes this as a signal to start eating and is looking for a mother's nipple, which is under her arm. The mother takes the pose that is characteristic of feeding - she sits down, taking the front foot aside. Then the second cub comes up to it and, having found the other nipple, is also taken for food intake. During all this time, the female is sitting with the paws apart.

A distinctive feature of the small skull of the short-eared jumper is the large bone hearing drums.

Sometimes, after the young ones are fed up, they begin to vigorously enough lick the corners of the mother’s mouth and massage them with their paws. Soon the mother consents to the blandishments of the offspring, opens his mouth, and the children begin to devour the food belched out by the mother. Having received such a treat, the little short-eared jumpers move to an afternoon nap, and the mother returns to her business. Two hours later, feeding the cubs is repeated again. During one night, the skip-mother feeds his offspring four to five times. With the rising of the sun, the female again believes that she is completely free from mother care until the evening. As for the behavior of the male, he does not show any interest to his offspring at all.

As the offspring is growing up, the female ceases to ensure that the young do not leave their shelter, ceases to carry them and more often skips feeding. Soon, in order to get mother's milk, small short-eared jumpers will have to make considerable efforts. In the end, the female will feed the cubs only once a day.

As the young grow, their mother begins to treat their offspring more and more coolly and “runs away from home.”

At about the twentieth day of life (but not earlier than the sixteenth and no later than the twenty-fifth), the kids leave the shelter and begin adult life. Animals reach sexual maturity by about the forty-third day of life.

Population status of short-eared jumper

In 1996, short-eared jumpers were entered into the so-called Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, receiving the status of "vulnerable species". But seven years later, this decision was revised, and the status of the jumper was defined as “a kind out of danger”. This revision of the decision is due to the fact that, despite the fact that the density of the population of these animals is very small, the territories occupied by this species are very large.

Genus: Macroscelides Smith A., 1829 = Short-Eared Jumpers

Species: Macroscelides proboscideus Shaw = Short-eared [ordinary ivory] jumper, elephant shrew

Kind of short-eared jumpers= Macroscelides A. Smith, 1829

In the genus only species: short-eared jumper -Macroscelides proboscideus Shaw, 1800.

Sizes are small (the smallest in the family). The body length is 9.5–12.4 cm. The tail length is 9.7–13.7 cm. Appearance is typical for the family. Thin muzzle is very much elongated, the ears are relatively shorter and more rounded than in other genera of jumpers. The first finger on the hind limbs is small and has a claw. The coat is long, thick and soft. On the upper part of the body is sandy-brown, pale-dirty yellow, pale-gray, orange-yellow, sometimes blackish, on the abdominal white or grayish. Nipples 3 pairs. The skull has very large bony auditory drums. Dental formula = 40. The upper incisor is relatively small.

The inhabitants are covered with dense shrub plains with sandy soils. The activity is predominantly daily, and often in the hot hours of the day. Asylum serves as burrows, which the animal usually digs at the roots of shrubs, less often it takes strangers. Keeps alone or in pairs. It feeds on insects, mainly ants and termites, as well as some plant objects: roots, berries. Newborn cubs are relatively very large, open eyes, the body is covered with hair.

It is found in South Africa (Cape Province) and in South West Africa.

In southern Africa, live amazing animals - short-eared ivory jumpers (Macroscelides proboscideus). What are they like? Yes, no one. On jumpers! Previously, they were assigned to the group of insectivores, considering the close relatives of moles, shrews and hedgehogs. But then the scientists found out that in many aspects of the internal organization the jumpers are like. primates! And they proposed to declare them primitive representatives of this detachment. And paleontologists have suggested that the jumpers in their structure are close to the ancient ancestors of hoofed animals. Arguingly, supporters of various views adopted a “Solomonian” decision - to allocate bouncer jumpers into a separate detachment that received the Latin name Macroscelidae *.

We jumpers at the Moscow Zoo a few years ago. One glance at them was enough to ensure a good mood. Judge for yourself - the body, the size and shape resembling a chicken egg, somewhere in the area of ​​the supposed waist - relatively large rounded ears, in front - a proboscis that moves all the time, behind - a tail, “sewn” is clearly tall. And all this keeps on thin legs - long back and short front. To coordinate the movements of their variously sized limbs, the jumpers often move on three legs, pressing one hind paw. And if the animal thinks of scratching the ear with a leg, it can end in tears - the leg will be stuck on the back and it can be released only by falling on its side. In a word, "the beast that does not exist."

At first, the jumpers delighted us - they got along quite easily in pairs, and soon the first babies were born. For such small animals (only about 11 cm long), the pregnancy of jumpers is very long - two months. They give birth to only one or two babies, but large ones. A sort of small copies of parents, immediately in the fur, with open eyes and rather nimble.

Our first cubs have grown safely. And then the trouble started. Females one after another began to refuse to feed their children. And we, the workers of the zoo, had to become foster parents of 8–10 g crumbs. Needless to say how troublesome it was! For the first few days we fed them every 2 hours, taking a 4-hour break only at night. Then the number of feedings was gradually reduced. But after all, we did not have any experience and idea about what is included in the complex of parental responsibilities of this poorly studied species! Therefore, far from always the nursing ended successfully. And every time there was a feeling that you were losing someone close. No arguments of reason, which, they say, is it worth it to get so upset because of the "little mouse", did not help. Of course, those animals that grew, supported our spirit, but we understood that it would end badly. Practice shows that no species can be maintained by artificial feeding for a long time.

We didn’t blame the “careless” mothers - we understood that we couldn’t create acceptable conditions for the jumpers. Therefore, all the time experimenting, trying to make the life of our pets more comfortable. And our efforts were not in vain - the females finally "remembered" about their parental responsibilities and removed this difficult burden from our shoulders.

Now we have the opportunity to observe the "normal" relationships in the family of jumpers. I must say that they were somewhat unexpected for us.

The first time the female feeds the calf immediately after its birth - if twins are born, feeding the first child can take place simultaneously with the birth of the second child. Well-fed children go to one of the shelters and sit quietly there. At this time, parents are not up to siblings - no x is developing a turbulent romance. But in the future for almost the entire day, adult animals live for themselves, as if forgetting about the existence of children. Those, in turn, treat this completely calmly - they sit side by side in the house, sometimes leaving the shelter, exploring the space and tasting the food of adults. Adult resting animals use other non-occupied shelters. If at this time they stumble upon their children, then they treat them simply as a piece of furniture.

But in the late afternoon, at about 5 pm, the female “remembers” that she has some duties to the younger generation, and takes up the rearing of children. She grabs a child tucked up under the paw by her teeth at any part of the body and drags him into the house, often not the one that the young themselves have chosen. Then the little bouncer rushes headlong into his favorite shelter, meeting mother and brother in the mouth on the way. Then they change places, and he already from his mother’s mouth watches the other cub running home. And this is repeated several times. In this case, the female does not fade away the enthusiasm to put everything in its place, and the young gradually get tired and submit to fate. From that moment on, they are under house arrest, and all their attempts to leave the shelter are stopped by the watchful mother. True, having restored order, she loses interest in this aspect of upbringing, which children rush to use. Then the female takes up the next problem - the babies need to be fed. She approaches the cub and gently touches her nose with a proboscis to his back. The child perceives this gesture as an invitation to dinner and begins to look for the mother's nipple, located under the arm. The female takes the feeding position - sits down and pulls the foreleg to the side. On the other hand, another cub is attached to it, and within a few seconds they peacefully suck milk. Sometimes, after eating, the young begin to energetically lick and massage the corners of the female's mouth with their paws. "Yielding to persuasion," she opens her mouth, and the children eat a burp from there. After such a “dessert”, small jumpers rest, and the female goes about her business. After two hours feeding is repeated. During the night, the female feeds her offspring 4–5 times, and at dawn, she again begins to consider herself free from parental care until the next evening. And the male and does not show any interest in their offspring.

As the pups grow up, the mother begins to shirk from her duties: she stops carrying children, makes sure that they do not leave the shelter, and tries to get away from feeding. Little short-eared jumpers have to make an effort to get milk from their mother. At the age of 25 days, childhood jumpers end, and young animals are ready for independent living.

So, as it turned out, we were not the best foster parents, being overwhelmed by the puppies. Later, when we had to artificially feed jumpers, we tried to be like their frivolous mothers and fed the children no more than five times a day and only at a convenient time for us. I must say that this innovation has benefited all. For us, feeding has ceased to be a heavy burden, and small jumpers are less likely to get sick.

O.G. Ilchenko, G.V. Vahrusheva, Moscow Zoo. Drawings V.Kostenko