Interesting Facts About Weasels: They Are Ferocious Predators

Weasels may look cute and cuddly, but trust us: you do not want to get too close to these little beasts! The weasel is a mammal from the Mustelidae family. It falls in the same genus as polecats, ferrets, minks, and stoats.
Weasels are small mammals, and looks like cute fury animals, but are in fact bloodthirsty and able to eat their own body weight each day, after killing their prey. They are also known to be capable of carrying animals as much as ten times their own size.
Weasels live in a variety of habitats, such as open fields, woodlands, thickets, roadsides and farmlands. They typically thrive in environments abundant with small prey (like small rodents) and with an available source of water. Most weasels live in either abandoned burrows, or nests under trees or rockpiles.
They have no problem saving leftovers to eat later, especially in colder climates. Weasels are small, varying in length between 6.8 and 8.5 inches, with long, slim bodies. The weasel’s tail ranges between 1.3 and 2 inches in length.
Here are TEN interesting facts you might not know about weasels:
1. Weasels are killing machines! They might have cute little faces, but weasels are also bloodthirsty. It’s a matter of necessity: they have super-fast metabolisms and need to kill and eat about half their body weight every day. As a result, they’ve become fearsome hunters. The weasel corners and grabs its prey, wraps its muscular body around the animal to immobilize it and then delivers a single killing bite to the back of the head, puncturing the skull or spinal cord. You know what other animal kills like that? The jaguar.
2. Weasels are ferocious predators. Their senses of sight, smell and hearing are acute, their hunting instinct is keen, and they are active, aggressive and quick.
3. Young Weasels develop remarkably quickly and are not only weaned by the time they are two months old, but are also able to hunt small prey and will leave their mother within the next few weeks to establish a territory of their own.
4. Weasels can spray a horrible smelling fluid that stinks as bad as a skunk spray. Their spray is thick, yellow, and oily.
5. While most predators are too large to enter the dens where their prey live, the weasel, with its long body can enter its prey’s burrow and kill it. Weasels will often take over the dwelling after killing its owner.
6. Since they do not hibernate, weasels are active all year long. Depending on the climate and season, they may display nocturnal or diurnal behavior.
7. In Greek culture, a weasel near one’s house is a sign of bad luck, even evil, “especially if there is in the household a girl about to be married”, since the animal (based on its Greek etymology) was thought to be an unhappy bride who was transformed into a weasel and consequently delights in destroying wedding dresses. In neighboring Macedonia, however, weasels are generally seen as an omen of good fortune.
8. Threats to the weasel include habitat loss, hunting, being hit by vehicles, and being poisoned. They are considered vermin by farmers because they prey on chickens and game birds, as well as their eggs.
9. The weasel may travel up to 2.5 kilometres on a hunting expedition. Weasels are good climbers and will often raid birds nests, taking the eggs and young. When ratting, its courage is even greater than the stoats.
10. Weasels breed between April and August, this is the only time males and females associate with each other. They produce 1 – 2 litters per year which contain 4 – 6 young each. Gestation period is around 5 weeks. The young of the first litter grow very fast, they are weaned at 4 weeks, at which time their eyes open and are able to hunt and kill at 5 – 8 weeks. They often accompany their mother on hunting expeditions.

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