A weasel is a small mammal that we hardly see in the cities and towns but they are found in almost all continents.
Fact 1 Description Of Weasels
A weasel is a carnivorous mammal that belongs to the Mustelidae family. It has a long body that is between 6.8 and 7.5 inches long, a long neck, with short round ears, short legs, sharp, pointed snout, and the size of the tail varies from medium to long. The spine of a weasel is flexible that allows it to curl up in small spaces. The females are smaller as compared to the males. The sizes of weasels vary according to the regions where they live. The upper coat is either brown or red while the belly is white in color. In winter, some of them molt their coats and you can see white-coated weasels in winter especially.
Original weasels that belong to the Mustela genus are found in Eurasia, different regions of America and North Africa. However, they are found in other continents as well except Australia. They are mostly nocturnal animals and hunt for their food at night and spend most of the daytime in their dens that they build in rock piles, holes in the ground, or hollows of stumps. Weasels found in Europe are called Stoats while in North America they are known as the Short-tailed weasels. These are about 40 cm long, the tail being about 13cm. The white color winter coat and a black-tipped tail is the characteristic of these weasels seen in the Arctic Ocean regions to Central Asia, South Europe, and Central America. The smaller weasels are common to North Africa, North and Central Asia and other parts of Europe. The tiniest weasels live in North Canada, Alaska, and some parts of America. They change their habitats according to the food available in the area and enough abandoned spaces like burrows and tree holes where they build their own homes with linings of grass and fur.
Fact 3 Food Habits
Weasels are carnivorous animals and they mostly feed on small sized mammals, but are known to pick up small animals from the poultry farms also like rabbits, etc from time to time. Irish Stoats feed on eggs apart from field mice, house mice, bank voles, rabbits, pygmy shrews, and smaller mammals. They catch their prey through the underground tunnels that they make and under the snow. They can hunt mammals that are bigger in size like ducks and rabbits. But they are not great eaters and have only 1/3 of their body weight to live.
Fact 4 Reproduction
Weasels are solitary animals and meet another identity only during the mating season. The gestation period lasts for about 5 weeks and the weasel gives birth to nearly 6 to 7 kittens in her cozy burrow. The babies are taken care of by their mothers for about 2 months only as they grow quite fast and start hunting small animals. Weasels have a short lifespan, live only for 3 years, and can breed only after they are 2 years old. The males often die earlier as predators kill them when they are on the search of new mates.
Fact 5 Enemies Of Weasels
Weasels are very fast with their feet and snuggle into their dens easily because of their flexible bodies when they sense dangers. However, there are numerous birds of prey like the Owls, Eagles, Hawks and terrestrial animals like foxes, snakes, cats and dogs are the biggest enemies of weasels. Farmers consider weasels as pests as they kill livestock and also eggs and poultry. Lack of proper habitat and too many enemies around, weasels are deteriorating in numbers.