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(mining engineering)
A refuse heap at a coal mine.



a temporary or permanent shelter constructed by an animal in soil or, more rarely, solid rock; in the wood or the bark of trees; or in the bottom of bodies of water. Burrows provide protection against predators and shelter against bad weather (a relatively constant and favorable microclimate is created in them); they are used for storing food and for reproduction and raising of young. Primary (nesting) burrows often perform all these functions, while auxiliary burrows perform just one function.

The primary burrows of mammals are usually connected with auxiliary burrows by paths leading to feeding areas and to above-ground shelters. The complex burrows of marmots, gerbils, microtines, and other rodents consist of tunnels and chambers for nests and food supplies. They can be as deep as 5–7 m and have from several dozen to hundreds of entrances. The burrows of many animals (large rodents, arctic foxes, and common foxes) are renovated and altered from generation to generation and may last hundreds or even thousands of years. Such adaptation of the place of habitation to the needs of the inhabitants, constantly maintained by an uninterrupted line of generations, is an important element in the life of a species.

The burrows of amphibians, reptiles, and birds are simple and small, often nothing more than mere depressions in the ground. The burrows of invertebrates (worms and insects) are equally simple. The complex systems of passageways made by insects that are wood pests serve the purpose of feeding tunnels.

In loose soil or ground litter, animals (worms, insects, and insect larvae) make passages by moving particles of soil with their bodies, “mining” the ground. In solid ground, they use their claws (talpids and sokhors) or break up the substrate with their beaks (bank swallows and bee-eaters). Some animals use their jaws to break up the earth and gnaw out the burrow; this is typical of many insects (various wasps and bees) and those mammals (mole rats, mole voles, and jerboas) whose incisors protrude out of the mouth and are very powerful. Pholadid mollusks bore through rock by secreting an acid that breaks down the rock.

Burrows, especially complex ones, are sometimes shared by the owners with many other animals. For example, more than 200 species of myriopods, mites, ticks, fleas, true lice, and other cohabitants live in the burrows of great gerbils in the deserts of Middle Asia. During hot and cold seasons, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and turtles take refuge in other animals’ burrows. Some birds, for example, wheatears and various sheldrakes, including the ruddy sheldrake, nest in the burrows of other animals. Hedgehogs and shrews live in burrows they do not build themselves.

The complex biocenosis of a burrow may ensure the prolonged existence of the agents of dangerous diseases (the plague, leishmaniases, spirochetoses, and others); as a result, an area where there are many such burrows becomes a stable natural seat of these diseases.


Naumov, N. P. Ekologiia zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Pavlovskii, E. N. Prirodnaia ochagovost’ transmissivnykh boleznei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Dinesman, L. G. Izuchenie istorii biogeotsenozov po noram zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Laboratory observations on burrowing in different soils by commercially important procambarid crayfish.
A significant part of these sediments could be caused by burrowing activity of beavers resulting in an erosion rate of 0.
After the cobras became more familiar with the tank and substrate we began to see occasional burrowing activity.
A burrowing owl symposium was scheduled in Lancaster on Friday, where experts planned to discuss the species' distribution and conservation strategies.
Tarantulas in the genus Aphonopelma burrow as juveniles and adults, and although some individuals may opportunistically use rock piles as temporary refuge sites (Baerg, 1958), subterranean burrowing is a significant component to their life history.
We located a Burrowing Owl nest site at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (32.
Jeff Ryder, aquarium facility Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, is gratefully acknowledged for his assistance with the burrowing experiments.
Little is known about the winter ecology of the Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea), a declining subspecies in North America (Wellicome & Holroyd 2001; Klute et al.
Populations of the western Burrowing Owl are declining in many parts of their range despite the wide distribution and flexibility of the species to occupy a variety of burrow systems and habitat types (Sheffield 1997, Holroyd et al.
The majority of ecological data on Florida Burrowing Owls in rural areas is observational and was collected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on dry prairie habitat in southcentral Florida (Ridgway 1874, Cahoon 1885, Hoxie 1889, Rhoads 1892, Scott 1892, Palmer 1896, Bent 1938, Nicholson 1954).
Occupancy of Mountain Plover and Burrowing Owl in Colorado.
The fact that burrowing owl populations in other parts of the world are rebounding gives hope to BOCN and other wildlife advocates and environmentalists.