Traveler, zoologist and long-time host of the TV program “In the World of Animals” Nikolai Drozdov held an online lecture as part of the course of the young naturalist “Everything is like Animals”.
Nikolai Nikolaevich participated in many scientific research expeditions, traveled most of the globe from Australia to the Karakum mountains. And while preparing stories for a well-known program, he repeatedly visited Turkmenistan.
As the bio-geographer told in an interview, he had dreamed of going to Turkmenistan since his youth. His wish was more than fulfilled. One of the issues of the program “In the World of Animals” he devoted to the work of the Karakala ophidiarium’s herpetologists. In 1986, together with Turkmen colleagues, he went in search of a rare lizard eublefar, which lives in the foothills of Kopetdag.
Today’s young naturalists are also interested in the deserts of the world. Most of the questions that guys asked Nikolai Drozdov were about their inhabitants. What animals are found in the Karakum mountains, why is the dung beetle called “sacred”, and the cobra – “queen of the mountains” and what is the most dispersed snake in the Sahara?
“Carpet viper and blunt-nosed viper are, of course, two most famous species of desert snakes, – said Nikolai Drozdov. – The cobra lives on the edge of the desert and in the foothills. – What is interesting about carpet viper – you can see the silhouette of a flying bird on her head. In the Turkmen language, it is called “kese ýörän”, which means “walking sideways”. It loves sandy soils, leads a nocturnal lifestyle, so it has cat’s-eye pupil. All snakes regularly loll out their tongues. This is its sense of smell: the tips of its forked tongue the snake picks up odors. The main task of carpet viper is to eat and not be eaten.
Carpet viper burrows deep into the sand and tracks down the future victim from the sand ambush. Lizards and jerboa become its main food. Before eating its “dinner” – carpet viper uses a choking technique, the sand snake bites only for the purpose of self-defense.
Nikolai Nikolaevich also told about camels, which are dispersed in sandy, clay and stony deserts. Two-humped camels live in the colder deserts of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. One-humped “ships of the desert” – in the hot regions of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Camels often have calluses on their hind and forelegs, which are places where the animal can lie comfortably even on hot sand. And in winter it is not easy to survive in the southernmost deserts. Therefore, the camel has a dense skin and fur, which it will shed in spring. In the summer heat, camels hide in the shade of black saxaul (these are the highest desert shrubs). During the day, wild camels rest, and at night they go out for a walk.
The online meeting of Nikolai Drozdov with young naturalists was organized by the author of the most popular Russian-language YouTube channel about nature “Everything is like animals” Yevgeniya Timonova. In her program, the presenter talks about the world of wildlife, and also offers to go on unforgettable trips to protected places.