The Long-tailed weasel is an endearing-looking species of mustelid common throughout America and southern Canada. Looking like a cute, curious, lively kitten, it is one of nature's most ferocious and relentless predators and is known as "nature's psychopath." Due to the pattern of their hunting and fearless attitude about attacking bigger animals, they are an interesting animal to study. They secure extra prey for future consumption, driven simply by their basic instincts.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Long-tailed weasels occupy a wide range, from southwestern Canada south across the United States (except parts of the southwest) then into Central America, Mexico and South America (Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). They are found in tropical and temperate habitats in Central and North America. Their habitats range from small wooded areas to crop fields to suburban areas but do not include thick dense forests or deserts. Their nests and burrows are in rock piles, hollow logs and under barns.
These mammals are not social animals and the genders live apart except in the mating season. A male’s home range will overlap those of several females, but those of same-gender adults never overlap. These animals are very aggressive when their home ranges are intruded. They are quick, alert and agile. They hunt their prey by detecting scent or sound, then follow their victim to attack quickly, killing them with a quick bite at the base of the animal’s skull. Long-tailed weasels may be active in the daytime but are more active during the night. They are known to be noisy, usually in response to a disturbance. This species communicates among themselves through visual, sound, and scent means. Females emit an appealing scent when ready to mate. Sounds and body language are used for communicating when two weasels confront each other.
Long-tailed weasels are polygynous, which means that one male mates with multiple females. Mating takes place during mid-summer. After copulation, there is a period of delayed implantation, with the egg not beginning to develop until March, the total gestation time being around 280 days. Births are from late April through early May. The average litter size is six. At birth young weigh about 3 grams and have pink wrinkled skin with white fur. After fourteen days, their hair starts to thicken, and size-wise it is easy to tell males and females apart. At 36 days they are weaned and start eating food their mother brings back to the nest. Their mother teaches them how to kill prey and by 56 days they can kill their own prey. Females mate during their first summer, males the following spring.
Long-tailed weasels are possibly sensitive to fragmentation of habitat due to agricultural activities, so maintaining landscape connectivity is important for this species. Other threats include the drainage of wetlands and monoculture. They may also be affected both directly and indirectly by the use of pesticides, through effects on habitat, reproduction and/or food supply.
Long-tailed weasel is widespread and fairly common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers today remain stable.
Due to what they consume, Long-tailed weasels help control populations of rabbits and rodents.