The Piebald shrew – Diplomesodon pulchellum
The Piebald shrew is distributed in sand deserts in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and marginally in Russia (Astrakhan region). It inhabits semi-fixed and fixed sands covered by saxaul. The Piebald shrew is not numerous anywhere in its natural range. These animals are active at dusk and night, spending daytime in simple burrows that they dig in the sands, though they may also use abandoned rodent burrows. The Piebald shrew is well adapted to periodical absence of water and food. In contrast to other shrews, it is able to survive without food for some periods, and go into the state of torpor under unfavourable conditions.
Like many other shrew species, the Piebald shrew female leads her babies to a new place in a special manner: young shrews form a caravan behind the mother, each carrying the tail of the sibling in front with its mouth. Their grip is very tight: one can lift the whole “caravan” from the ground by lifting just the female. By the age of one month, the young are independent but they still can be seen moving by caravanning.