101 Facts About Weasels


Weasel
  • Weasels belong to the Mustelidae family.
  • All weasels are terrestrial animals.
  • The range of long-tailed weasels includes most of North America, extending from just north of the United States-Canada border,  south throughout Central America to northern South America.
  • The most common weasel is the short-tailed weasel, and can be found almost everywhere in North America.
  • The long-tailed weasel is only found in North America.
  • The difference between a long-tailed weasels of North America is that they have black-tipped tails, while a small-tailed weasel does not. 
  • Long-tailed weasels were found almost 2 million years ago in North America.
  • The weasel of North America is the smallest of the predatory mammals.
  • For 101 facts on stoats, click here.
Weasel
  • The long-tailed weasel is the world’s smallest carnivore.
  • The weasel is one of natures most ferocious and relentless predators.  They are known as natures psychopath.
  • Weasels are small, with a length between 6.8 and 8.5 inches.
  • Weasels only attain a length, including the tail of 4.9 in (12.5 cm).
  • Weasels have a weight of 1.47 oz (42 g).
  • Weasels have long, slim bodies, with short legs
  • The weasels tail ranges in length between 1.3 and 2 inches.
  • Their body shape is highly adaptive to hunt their prey of small mammals.  They will chase them through small holes and along narrow passages.
  • Weasels are very active, and very nosy animals.
  • Weasels have sharp pointed canine teeth, which they use for biting and shearing flesh. 
  • For 101 facts on moose, click here.
Weasel
  • Weasels have five toes on each of their paws that are tipped with small, non-retractable claws.
  • Most weasels live in either abandoned burrows, or nests under trees or rock piles.
  • Northern species of weasels develop a thick, white coat in the wintertime.
  • Weasels live in cold climates.
  • The long-tailed weasels of North America are cinnamon-brown in color with white underparts that have a yellow tinge to them.
  • Weasels can run remarkably quickly when they are chasing their prey.
  • Weasels have a very soft, but dense fur.
  • Weasel have a white coat in winter, and a brown coat in summer.
  • In winter, the fur of the least weasel glows a bright lavender color when exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • Weasels are hungry carnivores.
  • Weasels are capable of controlling animals significantly larger than themselves. 
  • Weasels will often climb trees to hunt squirrels.

If you have ever wondered what the difference is between a stoat and a weasel, I have written an article on this here.

Weasel
  • Weasels kill a much larger number of birds than they
    could ever eat.
  • Weasels hunt their prey by detecting scent or sound, and then follow their prey, attacking quickly.
  • Weasels wrap their muscular body around the animal to stop them moving.
  • The weasel will corner their prey before grabbing it, and immobilizing it.
  • Weasels kill their prey by biting the back of its neck.  They then deliver a single killing bite to the back of the head, puncturing the head or spinal cord. 
  • Weasels have been known to travel as far as 2.5 km to hunt for food.
  • Weasels have been seen killing and carrying off animals between two and ten times their size.
  • Weasels will eat voles, shrews, rabbits, rats, chipmunks and other small mammals in their habitat.
  • Weasels also hunt and kill cats, dogs, snakes, and owls.
  • Weasels are usually most active at night,
  • Weasels often hunt during the day as well.
  • For 101 facts on narwhals, click here.
Weasel
  • Males weasels tend to chase and consume larger prey than the females will.
  • Both male and female weasels defend their territories from others of the same sex.
  • The sexual maturity of weasels begins from 3 to 4 months for the female.
  • Male weasels achieve maturity at around 8 or 9 months.
  • Both male and females secure their territory when mating.
  • A weasel’s growth period lasts about 35 days,
  • Female weasels gives birth to on average to 4 to 5 kits per litter.
  • A weasel’s lifespan is 1 to 2 years in the wild, significantly shorter than many other carnivores.
  • Weasels live in a variety of habitats, such as open fields, woodlands, thickets, roadsides and farmlands.
  • Weasels prey mainly on mammal’s that are rabbit-sized or smaller.
  • Weasels have been known to attack humans if the weasel becomes scared or threatened.
  • For 101 facts on armadillos, click here.
Weasel
  • Weasels bodies don’t store fat, so they need a constant supply of food to provide enough energy.
  • Weasel sounds serve a variety of purposes.
  • A loud, high-pitched sound is usually a response to danger,
  • Weasels commonly drink the blood of the victim, leaving the flesh for other animals such as cats and ferrets.
  • The long-tailed weasel of North America is very adept at climbing large trees.
  • They are good swimmers.
  • Female weasels measure around 15–18 centimeters long and have a tail length of 4.5 centimeters.
  • Males usually weigh up to 115 grams, and females up to 59 grams.
  • Weasels nests are made of grass and leaves, usually in holes in a wall, or in tree stumps.
  • For 101 facts on bighorn sheep, click here.
Weasel
  • Weasels breed between April and August; this is the only time males and females stay with each other.
  • Though weasels can dig their own burrows quite quickly, they will sometimes take over other animals’ burrows and make them their own.
  • Long-tailed weasels of North America are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females.
  • A weasels average litter size is six.
  • At birth young kits weigh about 3 grams.
  • Baby Weasels have pink wrinkled skin with white fur.
  • After fourteen days, the kits hair starts to thicken.  Size-wise the male kits are much larger.
  • At 36 days, the kits is weaned and starts eating the food their mother brings back to the nest.
  • The mother teaches the young how to kill prey. 
  • For 101 facts on grizzly bears, click here.
Weasel
  • After 56 days, weasels can kill their own prey. 
  • The young are called kittens or kits.
  • The collective noun for a group of weasels is boogle, gang, pack, or confusion.
  • The weasel is known as a very intelligent mammal.
  • Long-tailed weasels have sensitive emotions.
  • Weasels live up to 10 years, though most live three to five years.
  • Weasels stay warm by lowering their metabolism.  They then curl into balls inside their burrows.
  • Weasels are active all year long.
  • They are expert climbers, swimmers and runners. 
  • Weasels often kill more prey than they can eat, storing them for later use.
  • Weasels are known to be territorial, defending their home ranges when invaded.
  • Weasels are not social animals, living alone.
  • Male and females live apart except in the mating season
  • A male weasels home range will overlap those of several females.
  • Weasels are very aggressive when their home ranges are intruded.
  • Weasels are quick, alert and agile.
  • For 101 facts on blue whales, click here.
Weasel
  • Weasels are known to be noisy, usually in response to a disturbance.
  • Weasels communicate among themselves through visual, sound, and scent.
  • Sounds and body language are used for communicating when two weasels confront each other.
  • Female weasels release an appealing scent when ready to mate. 
  • Long-tailed weasels are extensive in North America, and fairly common throughout its range.  No overall population estimate is available
  • Weasels help to control populations of rabbits and rodents.
  • Weasels have a well-developed sense of sight, hearing, and smell, enabling them to be sensitive and efficient predators.
  • Long-tailed weasel of North America has a black tip to their tail, even in their all-white winter coats.
  • For 101 facts on polar bears, click here.
Weasel
  • Weasels long bodies and flexible backs allow them to enter the burrows of rodents and other animals that are smaller than them.
  • Weasels are known to release a strong-smelling musk if they are scared.
  • The color of the Weasels eyes is black during the daytime. However, at night, the eyes of weasels glow bright emerald green if caught in a flashlight. 
  • Weasels are members of the genus Mustela, which also includes stoats and ferrets.
  • Native Americans saw the weasel as a bad sign.
  • Weasel is also an insult to a person that is untrustworthy and sneaky.

Want 101 facts about the stoat. You can read that 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 Mammals.

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