Belongs to: carnivores

Compare with: stoat

Weasel Mustela nivalis


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

The smallest European carnivore, a ferocious little hunter

Habitat: anywhere on land that prey is available

Widespread across the whole of Europe apart from Ireland

Recognition

Reddish brown above and white below; shorter tail (up to 7 cm) than stoat and without black tip; body up to 23 cm

Usually moves in bounding leaps, hind paws landing in the same place as the front paws; diurnal and nocturnal

Feed mainly on voles and mice, sometimes rabbits, birds and eggs

Lifecycle

Nest in a rodent burrow

One or two litters a year, the first usually in April/May, usually 4–6 young

The home range can be up to 60 acres for the male, much less for the female

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