Croatian Fauna - Woodland Animals SI

Croatian Fauna - Woodland Animals

CROATIAN FAUNA – WOODLAND ANIMALS

FOX

(Vulpes vulpes L.)

Fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) belongs to the order of beasts, family of dogs. It represents small fur game. Its height up to the withers is about 40 cm, the length of the body to the tail is 60 to 70 cm and especially prominent is the fluffy tail up to 40 cm long. It weights from 6 to 10 kg. The fur is red-brown and the jawl, belly and the tip of the tail are white. It has very well developed hearing and sense of smell and not so well-developed sense of sight.  The olfactory glands are on paws and under the tail, and the „violet” gland is on the upper side of the tail, which is especially active at mating time and gives off a smell which reminds of violets.

It feeds mainly on tiny rodents (mice, voles), small hairy and feather animals, roe deer fawn, and domestic feather animals. Fox, being a beast and thus primarily oriented on the food of animal origin (meat eater), is actually omnivore because it very often consumes fruit and grapes. It is active mainly by night.

It mates in February and after 52 +/- 3 days of pregnancy whelps 4 – 8 and more rarely up to 12 pups. It has one brood per year. It mates and whelps mainly in its lair, underground lodging which it most often usurps from the badger. During lactation period and while the pups are still in liar fox is very active in collecting food (prey) and it is when it causes most damage. In order to prepare the pups for independent life, fox often brings live prey. It plays an important role in the ecosystem as a sanitarian since it reduces numerous small rodents and sick small game.  

The family is composed of a male, female and their young - pups.

The fox is the main reservoir of rabies, and there is danger that this disease is passed on to people and domestic animals. Besides mange, rabies is one of the main reducers of fox population in nature.  Among predators who represent danger for fox in woodland areas are wolf and lynx and in lowlands jackal. Fox can be found in the whole territory of mainland Croatia and even on some islands. The estimated number of foxes in Croatia is about 13.000 animals. 

ROE DEER

(Capreolus capreolus L.) 

Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) belongs to the order of artiodactya (cetartiodactyla – even toed ungulates), suborder of bovines, family of deer (cervidae) and the genus capreolus. Roe deer is a solid horn animal, only the male has antlers which he loses in the 10th – 11th month, whereupon in five months he gets the second set. New antlers are covered by thin skin called velvet.  Roe deer belongs to hairy game, protected by closed season.  

The length of the body is up to 140 cm, the length of the tail up to 5 cm, the height is about 75 cm, and the weight up to 40 kg.

The hair is reddish-brown in summer and in winter ranges from chestnut to grey. Their rump is covered with white hair - these patches are oval in males, and heart-shaped in females.

Spread out throughout the whole Europe and in Croatia in all habitats from lowlands to highlands and in coastal areas, it can also be found on some islands like Krk.  It prefers mosaic-like surfaces with interchanging groves, fields, meadows and pastures, optimally reaching from 200 to 500 (800) m above sea level.  Huge wood and agricultural areas are not best habitats for the roe deer but it can be found there as well.  Although timid, it is often found near settlements. It feeds exclusively on plants and is specialised in carefully selected plant parts.  

Roe deer mate in the second half of July and the first half of August. It is polygamous. Pregnancy lasts 288 days, because after mating the pregnancy is delayed (stoppage in the growth of embryo). In spring roe deer whelps one to two, rarely three fawns. The family is composed of the buck, doe and fawn.  Grown-up bucks live lone life and in autumn the does and fawn gather in bigger herds led by the most experienced does.

The biggest dangers for roe deer are wolves, lynxes, jackals and foxes, especially for the cubs. The cubs also get killed by agricultural machinery, especially mower. Important losses are generated also by traffic. In Croatian the number of roe deer is about 65.000 animals.

BOAR

(Sus scrofa L.)

Wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) belongs to the order of artiodactyla (even toed ungulates), suborder non-ruminants and the family of pigs. It is systematised as big hairy game.

It is widespread in Europe, except in Scandinavia and England, and also in North Africa and central Asia. It dwells in woods, in areas abundantly covered with vegetation where it finds piece and shelter. It prefers lowland flood forests but is found in all habitats reaching also to the Adriatic islands.

It is about 100 cm tall, of the length of up to 200 cm and with tail up to 40 cm. The male (boar) can weigh up to 300 kg, and females up to 150 kg. Its hair is dark grey, in summer of somewhat lighter colour and in winter almost black. On the back the boar has long hair – bristles. The young are of yellowish-chestnut colour with two longitudinal dark lines.

It has got in total 44 teeth, with prominent canines which in boar are called tusks and in sow are smaller. The tusks are boar's main weapons in their fight between each other and they are also a hunter's trophy.  In lower jaw they are called cutters and in upper law whetters.

Wild boar is omnivore eating wide range of foods.  It eats above and below ground parts of plants and especially enjoys acorn, mast and chestnut. It causes significant damage in agriculture. From animal food it consumes tiny rodents, worms, amphibians, fish, eggs and the chicks of birds which nest on the ground.

It is sexually mature after 9 months and mates already in its first year of life.  Mating takes place in autumn and at the beginning of winter and pregnancy lasts about 115 days. The sow gives birth to 4 – 12 pups. The family is composed of the boar, sow and piglets (up to 1 year of age) and older piglets - up to their second year). Mature boars are lone animals. The boars often fight between themselves at mating time. The sows, piglets and older piglets live in herds.

Wild boar is endangered by swine fever, floods, high snow and ice. Its greatest natural enemy is wolf.  Their number in Croatia is estimated at about 30.000 animals.

                                                                                                 Marijan Grubešić

Technical Details

Issue Date: 15.04.2015
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Values: 2.80 / 4.60 / 6.50 HRK