, Mustela nivalis
Weasel (Mustela nivalis) at the British Wildlife Centre, Surrey, England,
Source: Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) at the British Wildlife
Centre, Surrey, England
least weasel, Mustela nivalis, is the smallest member
of the Mustelidae (as well as the smallest of the Carnivora),
native to Eurasia, North America and North Africa, though it
has been introduced elsewhere. It is classed as Least
Concern by the IUCN, due to its wide distribution and presumably
large population. Despite its small size, the least
weasel is a fierce hunter, capable of killing a rabbit 5-10
times its own weight.
The least weasel has a thin, greatly elongated and extremely
flexible body with a small, yet elongated, blunt muzzled head
which is no thicker than the neck. The eyes are large, bulging
and dark coloured. The legs and tail are relatively short, the
latter constituting less than half its body length. The feet
are armed with sharp, dark claws, and the soles are heavily
Average body length in males is 130260 mm, while females
average 114204 mm. The tail measures 1287 mm in
males and 1760 mm in females. Males weigh 36-250 grams,
while females weigh 29.5-117 grams
Weasel, Stout, Mustela erminea
erminea from Commanster, Belgian High Ardennes (50°15'20``N,5°59'58``E)
stoat, Mustela erminea is also known as the short-tailed
weasel and the ermine,
is a species of Mustelid native
to Eurasia and North America, distinguished from the least weasel
by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent
range has expanded since the late 19th century to include
New Zealand, where it is held responsible for declines
in native bird populations. It is classed by the IUCN as Least
Concern, due to its wide circumpolar distribution, and the
fact that it does not face any significant threat to its survival.
It is listed among the 100 "world's worst alien
invasive species". It might be mixed up with Ermine,
Mustela nivalis, but it is smaller, and has shorter tail withour
(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 winter fur is very dense and silky, but quite closely
lying and short, while the summer fur is rougher, shorter
Stoat territoriality has a generally mustelid spacing pattern,
with male territories encompassing smaller female
sparse. In summer, the fur is sandy-brown on the back and
head and a white below.
territories, which they defend from other males. The size of
the territory and the ranging behaviour of its occupants
varies seasonally, depending on the abundance of food and mates.
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
and often stores the extra food for later.
Short-tailed, Mustela ermina
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.
Short-tailed, Mustela ermina