erminea from Commanster, Belgian High Ardennes (50°15'20``N,5°59'58``E)
(Mustela erminea); Three (wild) baby stoats playing in a garden
in Suffolk. Date 10 July 2006.
Photo taken by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:BozMo attributed
to his homepage at http://www.catesfamily.org.uk/
The stoat, Mustela
erminea is also known as the short-tailed weasel and the ermine.
The stoat can be found almost everywhere throughout the northern
temperate, subarctic and Arctic regions,
that is in Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States.
It was introduced into New Zealand in an unsuccessful attempt to
control the rabbit population
and is considered a serious pest because it eats the eggs and young
of native birds.
The stoat is considered to be the prime cause of the decline and/or
extinction of a number of NZ bird species.
Stoats are largely nocturnal or crepuscular but will sometimes come
out during the day.
stoats, Mustela erminea, playing outside their nest
BBC Natural History Unit
The stoat is an opportunistic carnivore. It eats insects, rabbits;
rodents such as the mouse, vole and rat;
other small mammals; birds and their eggs and young; and sometimes
fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.
It is a very skillful tree climber and can descend a trunk headfirst,
like a squirrel.
The stoat is capable of killing animals much larger than itself.
When it is able to obtain more meat than it can eat it will engage
in "surplus killing" and often stores the extra food for