101 Facts About Stoats

  • The stoat is a small-sized mammal, with males 19–32 cm, and females slightly smaller at 17–27 cm. 
  • Stoats belong to the mustelid family.
  • Stoats are also known as the short-tailed weasel.
  • The stoat is nominated as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.
  • This cute stoat ranks as one of the top 10 invasive mammals in North America.
  • Stoats are solitary animals.
  • In North America, Stoats are found throughout Canada and Alaska down south through most of the northern United States to central California.
  • Stoats are found inhabiting a variety of habitats including moorland, woodland, farms, coastal areas and even mountainous regions across the Northern Hemisphere.
  • For 101 facts on weasels, click here.
  • Stoats have a long, slender, cylindrical body and neck, short legs and a long tail.
  • The stoat is larger in size and weight than a weasel.
  • Stoats weigh on average 200 to 445 grams.
  • Male stoats are larger than females.
  • The stoat is noticeably larger than a weasel and has a distinctive black tip to its tail.
  • The stoat has an average lifespan of between 4 to 5 years.
  • Stoats are solitary except during the breeding season when stoats come together to mate.
  • The stoat is a carnivorous animal.
  • The diet of the stoat consists mainly of other animals.
  • Stoats hunt animals including rodents, reptiles and amphibians.
  • For 101 facts on moose, click here.
  • The stoat’s favorite food is the rabbit.
  • The stoat has been said to immobilize prey such as rabbits by dancing.
  • Although the stoat is small in size, they hunt several animals larger than themselves. 
  • The stoat has exceptionally sharp teeth which can issue a nasty and painful bite.
  • Young stoats are raised in the warmer months of May and June.
  • Stoats delay the implant of the fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus for 280 days.
  • The pregnancy period is between 21 and 28 days.
  • The young babies are weaned at five weeks.
  • For 101 facts on narwhals, click here.
  • The average lifespan of a stoat is very short, typically of one and a half years. However, they can live up to 7 years of age.
  • The female stoat gives birth to a litter of between 5 and 15 babies.
  • The mother stoat will do anything to protect their young.
  • Some of the larger animals a stoat will hunt include foxes, dogs, cats and snakes.
  • The stoat babies are nursed by the mother until they are just over a month old. The pups will then begin to learn to hunt.
  • Stoats can kill their prey at 12 weeks.
  • The pups are independent by the time they are three months of age.
  • Male stoats are called either dogs, bucks, jacks or hobs.
  • Female stoats are called bitches, does or jills.
  • For 101 facts on armadillos, click here.
  • Baby stoats known as kits.
  • A group of stoats is called a caravan.
  • Stoats are born blind, deaf, and toothless and covered in a very fine down.
  • When Stoats are three weeks old, they grow their first set of teeth.
  • Stoats can eat solid food when they are four weeks old.
  • Baby Stoats eyes don’t open until they are about a month old.
  • Baby Stoats will drink their mother’s milk until they are twelve weeks old.
  • Humans have hunted stoats for their fur.
  • Stoats have two types of fur, a summer fur and a winter fur.
  • The fur of a stoat is chestnut brown in summer.
  • In winter, in the northern regions of North America, stoat fur becomes thicker and turns white. The white fur is known as ermine.
  • For 101 facts on bighorn sheep, click here.
  • The winter fur is dense, silky, and short.
  • White fur covers the stoat in wintery conditions.
  • The summer fur of a stoat is rougher, shorter and sparse than the winter coat.
  • The stoat is an opportunistic killer. They move rapidly and check every available burrow or crevice for food.
  • In all seasons the stoat has a black tip to its tail.
  • Stoats have a good sense of sight, smell and hearing, which they use to help them prey.
  • Stoats are very alert and good climbers. They may take young birds from a nest.
  • Stoats are strong swimmers
  • Stoats are capable of crossing wide rivers.
  • Stoats make nests of grass and leaves. They make their nests in hollow trunks, molehills, walls, banks, burrows and rock crevices.
  • The female stoat is territorial in the breeding season.  However, male stoats are not.
  • For 101 facts on grizzly bears, click here.
  • Stoats, like a squirrel, can descend a tree trunk headfirst.
  • A stoat is capable of killing animals much larger than itself.
  • Stoats kill their prey1 by a bite to the back of the neck.
  • Stoats can move at speeds of 20 miles per hour when hunting.
  • The larger male stoats generally take hunt larger prey than females.
  • Stoats usually travel alone, except when it is mating season, or they are a mother with older offspring.
  • Stoat communication occurs mainly by scent, as the stoat has a sensitive olfactory system.
  • Stoats do not see color as well as humans, but they can see better at night. 
  • Stoats have a good sense of smell, and they hunt using scent.
  • For 101 facts on blue whales, click here.
  • The stoat releases an overpowering musky smell from its anal glands.
  • Stoats can spray a bad-smelling fluid when they are scared.
  • Stoats are one of the few animals able to follow burrowing mammals into their homes.
  • Stoats are surprisingly multi-talented: they can run, swim, climb trees and even dance.
  • Stoats moved over into North America approximately 500,000 years ago.
  • The stoat usually moves by a series of jumps, with its back strongly arched.
  • Stoats can travel long distances very quickly.
  • Stoats have been known to travel 70 km in just two weeks. 
  • Stoats are smart creatures, hypnotizing prey with dance and making rabbits forget to run away. 
  • Stoats are very suspicious of bait and traps and are challenging to catch.
  • For 101 facts on polar bears, click here.
  • Stoats tend to occur in areas with lower temperatures and higher snowfall.
  • A stoat can do a great deal of damage. Like a fox, they will kill many birds but only eat one.
  • The stoat is usually a silent animal but can produce a range of sounds.
  • A kit produces a fine chirping noise.
  • Adults trill before mating, and show submission through quiet trilling, whining and squealing noises.
  • Stoats will mainly hunt rats, mice, birds, rabbits, hares, possums and insects.
  • Stoats will eat lizards, freshwater crayfish, roadkill, hedgehogs and fish.
  • Stoats are capable of swimming up to about 1.5km.
  • Stoats can be a nuisance due to the size of their families.
  • For 101 facts on wolverines, click here.
  • A female stoat can produce up to 12 kits at a time but usually have 4-6 babies.
  • Stoats are capable of attacking and defeating animals up to twenty times heavier than them.
  • Stoats are not endangered animals, but they have been hunted and farmed for their fur. 
  • Stoats can be used to control rabbit populations.
  • Stoats are long and thin with short legs, small ears, and thick warm fur.
  • A stoats fur is brown, but changes to white in the winter.
  • Stoats are furry mammals with long, thin bodies. 
  • Stoats have a pointed snout.
  • The stoat is on the IUCN red list as least concern.
  • Stoats have eyes that are black, round and slightly protrude.
  • Stoats like open landscapes and will avoid forests.
  • For 101 facts on jaguars, click here.
  • Stoats prefer sandy, dry areas such as hedgerows, fallow land, and dry ditches and embankments.
  • Stoats communicate with each other by using hissing and singing sounds.
  • Regardless of their small size, stoats can easily eat five mice a day.
  • Stoats are most active during sunrise and sunset.

If you are unsure of the difference between a stoat and a weasel, this article I have written should help. You can read it here.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

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