Common Name: Short Tailed Weasel

Scientific Name: Mustela erminea

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Genus: Mustela

Species: M. erminea

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The Short-Tailed Weasel is small, long, and thin and the body is about 6-10'' long. They are a rich medium brown, with an off-white belly and white feet. The Short-Tailed Weasel has bright black eyes, whiskers, and round ears. The males are usually twice as large as the females. The Weasels like to live in forests, grasslands, brushy areas, and wetlands.

 

They range to Alaska and Most of Canada. The Weasel is a carnivore and it eats many different things like insects, rabbits, mice, voles, rats, birds and their eggs, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. The Short-Tailed Weasel is capable of eating animals larger than it. They have a keen sense of smell, vision, hearing, and touch that help locate prey. This is how it kills its prey: The Weasel bites its prey at the center of the skull to get to the centers of the brain that is responsible for functions like breathing.

 

The Weasel is a very skillful tree climber. They climb the trees to search for animals for food. The Female usually hunts in tunnels for bugs. The Weasel's average lifespan is one to two years, but the maximum time that they live is seven years. They only have one litter per year and the litter usually ranges from about three to eighteen offspring a year.

 

Females may survive two breeding seasons, but the males might not. Reproductive success highly depends on food availability. The Female takes care of the offspring, nursing and protecting them until they are independent. The Weasel's offspring are born blind and helpless and that is why the male and female have to hunt for them.

  

Author: Sam M

Published: 02/2009

  

Sources: "ADW: Mustela erminea: Information." Animal Diversity Web. 05 Feb. 2009 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_erminea.html>. "Ermine -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 05 Feb. 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ermine>. Grassy, John. Mammals. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1998.

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mustela_erminea_upright.jpg