Poster №8 – The fauna of the Kizhi skerries VkontakteFacebook

There are five amphibian species on the island. They are a little grass frog, a moor frog, a common newt, a crested newt and a European common toad. There occur also two reptile species here. Kizhi is a habitat for typical species for Karelia – a common northern viper and a viviparous lizard. The population of the frogs in Kizhi is nearly maximum for Karelia – 120 frogs per hectare. Lizards, toads and newts are a rare occurrence here. An extremely high population of vipers on the island is very unusual. Their density is 20 specimens per hectare. By comparison, population density of vipers in other southern regions of Karelia is 1.6 per hectare and in the central parts of Russia it is 3 per hectare. At a rough guess, there are not less than 3,000 mature snakes that live on the Island of Kizhi. This might be explained by a perfect combination of favorable natural conditions – a relatively mild climate, a great number of stone ridges that serve as a shelter from ene-mies and a hibernacle, an abundance of frogs (their main diet item) and the lake as a na-tural barrier for migration of animals. Snakes are most likely to bite when they feel threa-tened, are startled, provoked or have no means of escape when cornered, but most will usually avoid an encounter if possible and crawl away (see appendix).

Mammals living on local islands are a lot more diverse. There are three mice species on the Island of Kizhi (a common shrew, a field vole and a harvest mouse), which is rather unusual for Karelia. There are altogether 8 mice species on the nearest islands and the mainland. Besides the above-mentioned ones, there is a red-backed mouse, a lesser shrew, an eventoothed shrew, a European water shrew, a northern birch mouse. It is possible to see a polar hare, a red squirrel and a flying squirrel in the northern less-visited part of Kizhi Island. One can also find some prints of an American mink on the shore of the island. The American mink was brought to Zaonezhie in 1965. Their distribution here was so aggressive that they displaced a native European mink.

In winter, single wolves come to the island across the frozen lake. Their large prints cannot be mistaken for anything else. On big islands and on the lake shore there occur a lynx, a marten, a common weasel, a least weasel as well a raccoon dog brought to Karelia from the Leningrad region where it was naturalized in 1936. Since 1934 a muskrat that was brought here for naturalization and it has been expanding its distribution range quite rapidly in Zaonezhie. A high number of large animals – brown bears and elks – is the result of the remoteness of the area and a variety of food. That is, for example, a great number of clear-cut plots with young pines and broadleaved trees for elks. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s wild boars appeared in the Karelian forests. They migrated from the neighbor Leningrad and Vologda regions. According to some historical docu-ments till the 1950s one could see a brown hare and a reindeer in Zaonezhie. These species have most recently disappeared from this region.

There are 34 fish species in Lake Onega. The Kizhi area differs very much from the rest lake with a lot of big and small islands, shallows, miner depths (mostly 2–3 meters, but can be up to 16–20 meters), and a rough terrain of the lake bottom. Near Kizhi Island it is possible to fish a perch, a pike, a roach, a bream, a burbot, a sander, a rockfish, and a three-spined stickleback. In winter, a whitefish migrates here for feeding. In the open lake there is a grayling, a salmon and a trout.

How the previous generations of locals affected the island? Who lives here now? For this information see Poster № 9.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи": http://kizhi.karelia.ru]

// Ecological path of the Island of Kizhi
Y.Protasov, R.Martyanov, A.Korosov
Музей-заповедник «Кижи». Петрозаводск. 2008. 24 с.

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Музеи России - Museums in RussiaМузей-заповедник «Кижи» на сайте Культура.рф