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April 17, 2021 11:09 am

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Mospriroda’s experts remind you that there is no need to try to pet or pick up wild animals.

It’s warmer outside, which means that the inhabitants of the capital’s natural areas are coming out of hibernation. Some are just starting to wake up, while others have been awake for a long time. Mospriroda specialists constantly monitor the inhabitants of green areas and are the first to find out who is already ready for summer.

Hedgehogs: in search of food

The first hedgehogs to wake up were noticed in the Kuskovo forest park. In hibernation, they spent about six months. Animals wait out the cold period in shallow burrows or under dead wood. Hedgehogs usually sleep curled up in a ball, and stay in this state until spring. Before hibernating, they feed heavily, gaining fat reserves.

Hedgehogs wake up when the air temperature warms up to 10-12 degrees. During hibernation, they greatly lose weight, so after waking up, the animals immediately begin to look for food. Hedgehogs feed on insects, slugs and other invertebrates, frogs, field mice, lizards, eggs and sometimes snakes. These animals are usually awake at night, but for the first time after hibernation, they can be seen in the daytime looking for food.

As soon as the hedgehogs gain strength, their mating season will begin: in late May – early June, little hedgehogs will appear.

Mospriroda’s specialists remind that when meeting with animals, they do not need to be disturbed, try to pet or pick them up. Also, do not feed the hedgehogs, especially from the hands: they can take a person for a threat and bite.

If the hedgehog is injured and he needs help, then you need to call the hotline of the single information service: +7 (495) 777-77-77.


Another animals that are now emerging from hibernation are frogs. They have already been noticed in the Tushinsky Natural and Historical Park.

For wintering, many frogs choose reservoirs, streams or non-freezing ponds. They have enough oxygen for a comfortable suspended animation – a temporary cessation of vital activity.

Some frog species hibernate on land. They crawl into burrows or hide under a thick layer of foliage.

Frogs usually hibernate in September and emerge in March or April.

Winter mosquitoes, butterflies and bumblebees

Insects also wake up in the spring. Back in March, winter mosquitoes began to be active: the cold is not a hindrance to them, so they can be found in early spring, late autumn, and sometimes in winter.

The first butterflies have recently appeared in Moscow. Most of them spend the winter in the caterpillar stage, but not all. Urticaria was the first to wake up – a bright, motley butterfly with brick-red wings. It got its name because its caterpillars can eat stinging nettles. After urticaria, lemongrass wake up, their females have a pale yellow-green color, and the males are bright yellow.

The ladybugs also woke up. They and their larvae are predators. They eat insect pests and thus help to preserve the plants.

Bumblebees also appeared in the parks. Their body temperature can rise to plus 40 degrees, even if it is only 10 degrees outside, so they are not cold. The lower the temperature, the louder the bumblebees buzz – with this sound their pectoral muscles contract, releasing heat. This feature allowed insects to settle far to the north – to Chukotka, Greenland, Alaska and the island of Novaya Zemlya.

The first overflights were made by relatives of bumblebees – bees. In winter, they do not hibernate, but live in hives – there they feed and maintain a high temperature in order to warm themselves and the uterus. In the first warm days, the bees briefly leave the hive to make a cleansing flight. For specialists, this is an opportunity to assess how insects survived the winter: strong families fly with a synchronized buzz.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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