Stoat - Short-Tailed Weasel


stoat grass

 

Also known as an ermine or short-tailed weasel, the stoat is a species of Mustelid known as one of the world's most invasive species. Male stoats are refereed to as dogs, hobs, or jacks; while females are known as jills or b-tches. Stoats can be found in North America, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia. They live in all manner of crevices such as in the burrows and nests of the smaller rodents that they prey on, rotting stumps, under tree roots, heaps of brushwood, haystacks, bog hummocks, the cracks of vacant mud buildings, rock piles, rock clefts, and magpie nests, keeping multiple dens within their territories.

 

 

mother two young

 

Stoats prey upon small rodents including European water voles, common hamsters and pikas. They also eat small birds, fish, shrews, amphibians, rabbits, lizards and insects. The stoat is an opportunistic predator, invading any crevice it can get itself into and attacking whatever small creature may live their. The stoat kills its prey by biting the back of its neck and wrapping around its body. They kill most creatures with the initial bite, but some with the shock of the full body attack.

 

Here is a video of a stoat tracking and killing a rabbit about 10 times its size.

 

rabbit

 

Stoats have a length of between 6.7 and 12.8 inches (170 to 325 millimeters) and a weight that can be anywhere from under 6.3 ounces (180 grams) to over 9.1 ounces (258 grams). Males are about 1.5 to 2 times as large as females. In the winter their coats can be almost completely white except for the black tip of the tail.

 

winter summer coat

 

Stoats are the evolutionary ancestors of a larger species that lived 5-7 million years ago and survived through the ice age. Stoats are very territorial, keeping large ranges that will violently defend.

 

roaring singing

 

 

 

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