Long-tailed Weasel

This species has the largest range of any American weasel, from southern Canada through the United States and Central America to the lower slopes of the Bolivian Andes.

Long-tailed weasels occupy a range of habitats, from farmland and gardens to woodland. However, they avoid dense forests and desert areas. The weasels are most easily spotted emerging from their burrows, which tend to be inside tree hollows, under rocks and in other secluded spots. They often take over the burrow of one of their prey, enlarging the accommodation if necessary. Long-tailed weasels are good climbers and swimmers. They hunt at night, tracking prey by scent.

This weasel's tail is particularly bushy compared with those of other weasels. Apart from this, the form is fairly typical, with short legs, small ears and a long, flexible body.

The fur is red-brown, with a yellowish underside. In colder regions, where snowfall is common, the weasel develops a white winter coat.

Distribution: From southern Canada to Bolivia.

Habitat: Grassland, shrubland and open woodland.

Food: Small rodents, rabbits, birds and reptiles.

Size: 20 - 26 cm (8 - 10 in); 80 - 350 g (3 - 12 oz). Males are larger than females.

Maturity: 6 months. Breeding: 6 young born in spring.

Life span: 5 years.

Status: Common.