Sand Facts – Asian Animals
5. Physical description
In parts of the mountains of northern Mongolia, China and Siberia lives a small weasel-like creature named Sable. The Sable reaches lengths between 13 and 20 inches long, and adults weigh between 2 and 5 pounds. It is a carnivorous animal, belonging to the mustelid family, along with otters, badgers, weasels, martens, ferrets, minks and wolverines. Sables are known for their thin, soft skin that ranges in color from light orange brown to almost black. Sometimes some Sands will also have salmon colored spots on the throat. On the black market, these coats are priced between US $ 50 and US $ 1,000 each. However, in legitimate Western fur retail markets, a Sable fur coat can cost up to US $ 100,000.
In terms of hunting for herself, the Sable uses her acute senses of smell and hearing to stalk her small prey. These prey animals are generally very sensitive to sounds and vibrations through the ground, so it is important that the Sable is light on its legs and very stealthy. Sable tends to hunt small mammals and birds, and sometimes even fish. In addition to their meat-rich diet, Sands also eat other high-protein foods such as eggs, as well as a small amount of various berries and plants. After searching for food, it is common for the Sands to store or “cache” their food for the following months, when food is not as plentiful.
3. Habitat and range
Although Russian sands can be found in parts of Serbia, sands are more commonly found in parts of North Asia. Mongolia, China, Japan and Russia are home to the majority of the Sands, most of which live in their dense forests, plains and mountains. They like to live in temperate forests, their dens being built on the forest floor. These animals are certainly not going to go extinct anytime soon and are classified by the IUCN Red List as species of “least concern”. In 2011, there were approximately 1.1 to 1.3 million Sands in their diaspora.
Sables are classified as “motile” creatures, which means they have the ability to move from place to place. They use their sense of smell and hearing to stalk prey and tend to store their food on days when it is less abundant. Indeed, the weather in the climates in which they live can become unforgiving, especially during the winter months, during which the Sands may have to take refuge in their dens until the weather clears up and the temperatures return. Sands, like any wild animal, can be viciously aggressive towards humans. Yet, when domesticated, they are often described as playful, tame, and curious pets.
During the summer months of June to August is the breeding season of the Sable. Sable males will create grooves in snow or soil and will urinate frequently to claim territory, as well as to inform neighboring females of their presence. After about eight months of gestation, a Sable female will give birth to litters ranging from 1 to 7 young. It takes around seven weeks for puppies to complete weaning from their mother and start eating solid food. After this time, the puppies mature quickly. The average lifespan of Sands in the wild is only 8 years. However, they can reach up to 18 years of age when domesticated and bred in captivity.