Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Mongolia

Mongolian mammals:
rodents, squirrels, hamsters + carnivores

Mongolia has a plethora of rodents, the identification of which I found rather confusing.

Marmots (Mongolian tarvaga, Bobac or Steppe Marmot, Marmota bobac) are clear enough — they are bigger than anything else, almost wombat-sized. Chinzo called the smaller burrowing mammals we saw either "Mongolian hamsters" (zuram) or long-tailed souslik (gozooroi zuram), and the drivers mentioned a bozlog (smaller than a zuram) found in the south. The guidebook to Gobi Gurvansaikhan national park says there are 18 species of pika at Yolyn Am. And then there are jerboa and voles...

I finally found someone who knows about Mongolian mammals - the Russian naturalist Vladimir Dinets has provided the species IDs below. Check out his Mongolian wildlife notes and trip diary.

The following photographs are of what Chinzo called the "long-tailed souslik" — Dinets says they are long-tailed ground squirrels Spermophilus undulatus.

long-tailed ground squirrel (near Mörön)
long-tailed ground squirrel (near Shine-Ider)

The following two are both from Yolyn Am. The first looks like the same critter above, but is apparently an Alashan ground squirrel Spermophilus alashanicus; the second is a pika Ochotona dauurica.

Alashan ground squirrel, Spermophilus alashanicus
pika, Ochotona dauurica

a young Central Asian hare, Lepus tolai
I saw a larger tree squirrel at Khovsgol, and several hares as well.

At one point the van I wasn't in saw a silver fox cross the road. We didn't see any wolves, but we did see a sheep that had been killed by one, barely 20 metres from the ger I was sleeping in. I saw a pine marten at Manshir, and a hedgehog at Juuchin Gobi ger camp. [Dinets says silver foxes and martens are very rare in Mongolia, and that the animals we saw were probably a corsac fox and a sable.]

Up: 2005 Mongolia trip

Mongolia << Travelogues << Danny Yee