Weasel Mustela nivalis
M. nivalis is the smallest carnivore with a head and
body length of 114-260 mm, tail length is 17-78 mm. Weights
range from 25-250 grams. Coloration varies with the seasons;
during the warmer months the pelage is brown above and white
below, in the winter the entire coat is white with the possibility
of a few black hairs at the tip of the tail.
Like M. erminea, the Least Weasel may be found in a variety
of habitats including open tundra and deep forests. Preference
seems to be for areas with rocky or vegetative cover. Several
dens close together may be constructed in hollow trees, rocky
crevices, or abandoned rodent burrows.
Births may occurs throughout the year and generally 5 young
are born after a gestation period of 35-37 days, though litters
may number 3-10 offspring. Females are capable of having more
than one litter each year. Babies are weaned at 24 days and
reach sexual maturity at 4 months.
diet of M. nivalis consists almost entirely of small
rodents and the Least Weasel may store food for the winter.
M. nivalis is found in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Corsica,
Crete, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan
(Hokkaido and Honshu), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia,
Moldova, mMongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand (introduced), Norway,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sardinia, Serbia and Montenegro,
Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan,
USA, (Alaska and most of the USA except SW), Ukraine.