Return to the Mammalia Index

Weasel (Short Tailed) or (Ermine)
Mustela erminea

Class  

Mammals

Weasel (Short Tailed) or (Ermine)

Range  

The short-tailed weasel, also called an ermine or stoat, is found all over Canada, the northern United States, Europe, and Asia.

Habitat  

They live in similar habitats to the long-tailed weasel including the taigas and tundra of Siberia.

Body Traits  

They are very similar in all ways to the long-tailed weasel, with one distinct difference. They have a much shorter tail, just half their body length and with a black tip. They always turn white in winter (they only range in places that have snow in winter).

Habits  

They are active and alert, good swimmers and climbers. They are territorial and will attack trespassers and are though they are active mostly at night (nocturnal) they can be out at any time during the day.

Diet  

They are fierce hunters feeding mostly on small rodents but also taking rabbits, birds, reptiles and even fruit in summer. They kill their prey by biting down hard on the base of the skull.

Predators  

Predators include foxes, coyotes, badgers, falcons and hawks.

Reproduction  

Short-tailed weasels live alone except to mate. Though it can be more than 9 months between the time they mate and the female has her 6 young, weasels are not truly pregnant until March and they have the young about 6 weeks later. This is called delayed implantation and many wild mammals have this same adaptation. It allows the animals to mate in the fall when they are more active, than try to find each other in late winter. The young are born in late April to early May. Within 2 months they can kill their own prey.

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status  

If a short-tailed weasel survives to become an adult they may live for several years.  They are listed as Lower Risk - least concern.


Weasel (Short Tailed) or (Ermine)

Classification  

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: Mustela
Species: Mustela erminea

Citing This Reference

CITING RESEARCH REFERENCES
When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access <URL>.

All text on Exploring Nature was written by author, Sheri Amsel

Here is an example of citing this page:
Amsel, Sheri. “Mammalia.” Weasel (Short Tailed) or (Ermine). Exploring Nature Educational Resource. © 2005 - 2014. October 1, 2014. <http://exploringnature.org/db/detail.php?dbID=43&detID=997>

Related Links
Subscribe to Exploring Nature Today!