The mammals that live today in Mount Etna only include species of small and medium size, mostly active at dusk or at night and not tied to specific altitudes. This type is represented on our volcano by the following orders: carnivores, rodents, insectivores, lagomorphs, Chiroptera. Carnivores Family: Canidae Fox [photos] (Vulpes Tlulpes Bech.). 65-75 cm long, is on average 30 cm high, weighing between 2 and 7 kg.
The fur, colored, is usually reddish on the head and trunk, grayish-white on the bottom.
Solitary or gathered in family groups, preferably living in the woods and bushes between the fields but it goes close to dwellings. Omnivorous, its nourishment is of vertebrates, insects, mollusks, fruits, etc.. Family: Felidae wildcat [photo] (Felissilvest Schreb). Much like a domestic cat but much more stocky, with short legs.
The fur, thick and varied in color, is usually gray with black stripes on the sides and a longitudinal black band on the back, tail (up to 37 cm) thick, with black stripes.
Solitary, except during the love periods, lives preferably in hardwood forests with dense undergrowth bushes and scrub, particularly active in the evening and at night, it feeds on mice, rats, rabbits, hares, birds and even reptiles. Family: Mustelidae weasel (Mustela uivalis boccamela Bechst.).
Similar to the ermine but smaller (usually 18 to 25 cm), has short legs and reddish-brown fur on the back, white on the bottom parts.
Lives in various environments, including those affected by human activities, with preference for flat fields, particularly active at night, is a ruthless hunter of mice, rats, frogs, rabbits, birds. Ferret (Mustela putorius foro L).
Shape of albino skunk, reduced domesticity, from the distant past and used for hunting wild rabbits or trained to fight rats and mice. Will mate easily with the European polecat and the weasel, giving rise to hybrids highly sought after by hunters.
Marten [photo] (Martes martes uotialis Cav.). 42 to 52 cm long, has a pointed snout, large eyes and rounded ears, the fur is thick, brown in color with a yellowish stain on the throat. Habits of evening and night hours, preferably living in coniferous forests where leads a solitary life. Very agile and equipped with highly developed vision and hearing, she hunters mice, rats, rabbits and birds. Reproduces in the summer. It is in sharp decline, this species in Sicily is now very rare. This type of rodent has more species in Etna, mostly of small size. Family: Gliridi Dormouse [photo] (Glis glis italicus Barr. - Ham.).
He is very slender, somewhat similar to a squirrel, this charming rodent, measuring on average 13 to 19 cm tail, 11-15 cm long, is very rich in hair but does not form a noticeable plume. The head is small, with big eyes and bright, the ears are hairless. The fur, thick and soft, is more grayish on the upper part and white ventrally. Lives in the woods, especially hardwoods, gardens and orchards. Very agile, has nocturnal habits, it feeds on berries, fruits, insects, bird eggs and nestlings. In autumn, after getting much fatter, goes into hibernation. The species is widespread throughout most of Europe, to Asia Minor. Guercino (Eliomys querciuus pallidus Barr. - Ham.). Similar to the dormouse, slightly smaller in size, larger ears and tail tip forms a discrete plume.
The upper parts of the body are reddish-brown, the lower white, the muzzle, white at the upper side and red at the top, is decorated with two black stripes that, starting from the nose, through the eyes arrive at the base of the ears, the tail is black dorsally and white ventrally. He lives in forested areas to over 2,000 meters of altitude, has nocturnal habits and feeds on fruit and small animals, often goes into homes in search of food. In the fall goes into hibernation. The subspecies is typical of Sicily. Dormouse (Muscardinus avellauarius pulcher Barr.-Ham.). It is also known as the hazelnut mouse or rat golden-yellow color of the upper parts of the fur, and the ventral surface is white with reddish tinge. Dimensions are small, just 16 cm of which about half belong to the tail. The ears are small and bare, the tail is covered with short hairs and dense. Lives in areas with dense shrub vegetation and undergrowth bushes, it feeds on nuts, especially hazelnuts, insects, eggs and nestlings. It is found throughout Italy. Family: Porcupine Istricidi [photo] (Hystrix cristata cristata L.). Long on average a little over 60 cm, of which about 15 belong to the tail, he squat appearance, with large head and blunt snout, the eyes are small, the ears short. The trunk, relatively short, is supported by short strong legs with fingers armed with strong claws designed to excavation.
The body is covered in part of hard hair, of blackish color, which at the top of the head form an erect mane, back and tail are implanted erectile spines, strong, sharp, whose length reaches 30-35 cm, of typically alternated rings between white and blacks. Lives in dry, rocky places, with vegetation cover. Active mainly at night, eats mostly fruits, roots and bulbs. In Italy is found in central and southern regions. Another group of rodents include various species of mice: the voles (Microtini), with the Apoderrcussylva-Atticus Dicrurus (Raf.), ventrally with white coat, small ears and short tail, the wise Pitymis (Sel LongCHAR.) and rat (Epimys norvegicus Erxl.) tied to the places inhabited by man.
Insectivorous The presence of the mole (Talpa romana Thomas) cited by Galvagni is doubtful, so this order is at present-day represented by a Soricide the Shrew Crocidura sicula (Miller), particularly small (6 to 9 cm) brown fur on its back, white belly, and the well-known following species: Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus Consolea Barr. - Ham.). Has the body 30cm. long but two or three belong to the tail. The head, with a broad muzzle is a little 'sharp, wearing a pair of small and dark eyes, the ears are large, short and rounded. The trunk is stocky and supported by short legs with long toes armed with strong claws. All the upper parts from head to tail, and the sides are covered with spikes of 2-3 cm in height of gray color and white peak, the lower parts and feet are covered with sparse brownish hairs.
Lives in various environments, in the woods, among the scrub, in stony and open places but avoid the wetlands. He has crepuscular and nocturnal habits, as well as animals, he feeds on primarily earthworms, insects, frogs and lizards, and vegetable matter. Lagomorphs are represented by two species of Leporidae: hares common (Lepus europaeus corsicanus De Wint). Elongated shape, measuring 48 to 70 cm, has a small head, big eyes and long ears, hind legs are much stronger and more developed than the front.
The fur is reddish-gray on the back, white on the bottom. Common in the more or less cultivated lands and forests, is active at dusk and at night.
The aboriginal people have become genetically contaminated by the introduction of pairs imported from Central-and Argentina because of restocking for hunting purposes. Jackrabbit [photo] (Oryctolagus cuniculus huxleyi Haeck.). Very common and widespread throughout the volcano, with preference for dry, sandy, usually ranging in 34-47 cm size. The coat is light brown, with reddish and gray tinges. Chirotteri known as bats are present in Etna with numerous species, many of which inhabit the caves of the volcano and flying out at dusk, they are all not yet well known and we can mention for the time being the bat (Nyctalus noctula Schreb. ), that for the rest prefer forests and gardens; the Big Ear (Plecotus auritus L.), from very large ears, small Miuiopterus schreibersi (Nat.), from tiny ears, large Myotis myotis (Berle.), the Pipistrellussavii ( Bonap.), the Tlespertillio serotinus (Schreb.) should be added to these different species of horseshoe (Rhiuolophus), which have yet to be determined, for the time being determined only in the presence of ferrum Rhiuolophus equinum (Schreb.).