Classification: Non-game Wildlife Species
Other Names: Ermine, stoat
Status: Winter pelts of value when fur prices are high. Unprotected predator.
Identifying Characteristics: Of the three North American weasels is intermediate in size and one of the smallest carnivores in the world. Males distinctly larger than females. During summer fur is dark brown with white underparts, white feet, and white line down hind legs. Molts to white during winter, except black tip on tail.
Total length: 7 to 13 inches. Weight: 1 to 6 ounces.
Habitat: Inhabits brushy or wooded areas, usually not far from water. Tends to avoid dense forest. Prefers areas with high densities of small mammals. Most abundant in ecotones.
Food Habits: Although short-tail weasels prey on a variety of small mammals and birds, they specialize in hunting voles.
Life History: Mostly nocturnal but will hunt during the day. Active throughout the year. Dens in ground burrows, under stumps, rock piles, or old buildings. Breeds during summer; 8.5 to 10 month gestation; delayed implantation; young born April or May; one litter per year of 4 to 13 young.
Similar Species: Long-tail weasel - larger, longer tail. Least weasel - smaller, short tail, no black tip on tail. Mink - larger, uniform color.