Lake Baikal is southern Siberia, it is precisely between Irkutsk Oblast and the Buryat Republic. Lake Baikal derives from Mongolian language that means Nature Lake. It is the clearer, the deepest and the largest freshwater in the world.
It contains 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water that equals to 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water. With such number, Lake Baikal contains more water than the combination of North American Great Lakes. Its maximum depth is 1,642 m. Moreover, Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world around 25–30 million years, not to mention that it is the seventh largest lake in the world by surface area.
Like any other lakes, Lake Baikal is a home for several animals. There are 6 animals that live in Lake Baikal, Russia. Those are:
1. Red Fox
Red fox is the largest of the true foxes. In Carnivora order, this animal is the most widely distributed. Red foxes exist in the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, North America and Eurasia.
Red fox has long body and short limbs. The adults are 45–90 cm long with tails of 30–55.5 cm long in average. Meanwhile, their weights range from 2.2 to 14 kg.
Although their sights mainly react to movement, their auditory perception helps them become dangerous killers. They can hear black grouse changing roosts at 600 paces, crows flying at 0.25–0.5 kilometers and mice squeaking at about 100 meters.
This animal also refers to Elk. It is the largest species in deer family. Unlike other deer species, moose do not live in a group. Although it is slow and appears to be harmless, it can be aggressive when disturbed.
The appearance of moose is distinguishable with its antler. The symmetry of its antler can tell that this animal is healthy. Males weights range from 300 to 700 kg. Meanwhile, females typically weight 200 to 490 kg. The length of their head and body can reach up to 3.1 m.
Since moose is herbivore, it can eat any kind of plants and fruits. They mainly eat forbs and fresh shoots from trees, like birch and willow.
Moose is a prey for some big carnivore, like brown bear and Siberian tiger. There is also smaller kind like grey wolves that can attack female.
3. Alpine Hare
This hare has so many names. Those include mountain hare, blue hare, tundra hare, variable hare, white hare, snow hare, alpine hare, and Irish hare. It is categorized into Paleartic hare of which habitat is mostly at polar and mountains.
This hare can grow up to 65 cm with tail ranges from 4 to 8 cm long. Its weight ranges from 2–5.3 kg while females are slightly heavier than males. In preparation for winter, their pelage turns white while their tails are white all year-round.
Most of the subspecies will opt for grass, which occupies 95% of their diet. This number is higher than other European rabbits diet. Meanwhile, their enemies include foxes, golden eagle and Eurasian eagle-owls, as well as stoats that prey on young hares.
Comephorus is a kind of fish that also refers to golomyankas or Baikal oilfish. What’s interesting about this fish is that it is the only species in Comephoridae family. Moreover, it is one source of food for Baikal Seal.
Golmyankas has translucent body without scales. The adults can reach up to 21 cm long. Meanwhile, small fish is only about 16 cm long. Different from any other animals, however, female comephorus is 1.5 bigger than males.
Biomass of this population is about 150 thousands tons and occupies 70% of fish population in Lake Baikal. Thus, making them easily to be found in shallow water.
Amphipoda belongs to order of malacostracan crustaceans with no carapace, or upper part of the shell. Most of them are marine animals and are scavengers.
There are 13 segments in body of an amphipoda that include head, thorax and abdomen. Their size usually does not exceed 10 cm, but the largest recorded amphipoda is 28 cm long. Meanwhile, the smallest one is 1 mm. The difference in size is due to the difference amount of dissolved oxygen they can have.
Most of them are scavengers. However, there are some of them which are omnivores, predators of small insects or grazers of algae.
6. Lubomirskia baicalensis
This animals is a kind of sponges. It also refers to Lake Baikal sponge. There are a lot of this kind of sponge in Lake Baikal although 14 species of Lubomirskiidae family are Baikal endemics. They can be found in the depth of 1 to 120 m.
In shallow water, it appears like a carpet. Meanwhile, in the depth of 3 to 4 m, their height can reach up to 1.2 m, which is considered large for sponge. At that height, it starts to grow branches. Meanwhile, in the depth of 5 to 12 m, it can grow wider branches and may form “forest.”
The green color of this sponge comes from mutual symbiosis with green dinoflagellate. Moreover, dinofalgellate can produce okadaic acid so this sponge can survive when Lake Baikal is covered with ice.
Those are 6 animals that live in Lake Baikal, Russia. You can also read interesting facts of Siberian tigers, endemic animals living in Caucasus Mountain, animals in Volga river, animals that lives in Siberian tundra and most dangerous animals in Russia.