Where Do Weasels Live in the Wild?
Weasels are mammalian animals with a very agile and small body structure. They belong to the group of animals known as Mustelids. About three species of weasels exist and are found mostly in North America and the UK.
Weasels usually hunt for small rodents, eggs, birds, and young rabbits. They have a body structure that allows them to hunt for their prey easily. Their fur can be anything from ginger to a russet brown with a creamy color below its lower body and a short tail with a long and slender body structure.
Weasels are generally adaptable and can live in any place provided that they can always access food and shelter. These animals do not hibernate throughout the year as they go about looking for their prey.
Because weasels are nocturnal, they usually sleep in the day and hunt for their prey at night. In this article, you’ll learn more about where these animals live in the wild.
Natural Habitat of Weasels
Weasels live in different natural environments, including woodlands, roadsides, thickets, and open fields. They ensure that their chosen environment has abundant preys and water for their survival.
Sometimes, most weasels live in nests under a tree, on rock piles, or in abandoned burrows. These habitats may include urban and suburban areas, villages, gardens, rivers, and other wetlands. Some species of weasels live in colder regions such as the far Arctic region.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has stipulated that you can find many of these animals in other places like hedgerows, marshes, alpine meadows, scrubs, and riverbanks habitat.
Do Weasels Make Holes in the Grounds?
Weasels sometimes dig holes in the ground to suit their specific needs. They often make these holes to escape from dangers, store food, or for sleeping. These animals also use these holes as shelter, especially during the winter storms, since another burrow place may be challenging to stay in during the harsh weather condition.
Sometimes, weasels may house their litters of about four to five kits in these holes. Occasionally, weasels take over the holes that other animals have dug and make them their own. They are brutal predators but have not been particularly fierce towards humans.
However, there is currently no theory supporting the use of weasels as a domesticated animal. Hence, they are not too common as pets. Their hunting is usually within familiar territory. They can also use termite hills for shelter.
What Do Weasel Holes Look Like?
Weasel underground holes can be as deep as 10 feet. Usually, you may not easily see these holes because they’re within thick undergrowth and tall grasses. Sometimes, this hole serves as a den for their prey because they usually line the entrance with the victim’s fur after they might have overtaken its territory.
Weasel holes may also vary depending on what their purpose will be. The gap may be tiny for kits, while it may also be large enough to accommodate larger preys. A male weasel generally has a larger hole than a female weasel because these animals live separately.
Do Weasels Make Tunnels Underground?
Weasels do not dig tunnels in the ground, but they occasionally use the tunnels of other animals they killed, which can serve as entrance and exit in case of an attack by other predators. Usually, these tunnels have two openings at the surface to enter and go out through either outlet.
These animals do not usually use these tunnels for a more extended period as they usually change to another available tunnel within their territory. The tunnels serve as dens and resting places, and the weasel may visit many of these tunnels at different intervals and times.
How Big of a Hole Can a Weasel Fit Through?
Weasels have nominal body size when compared to other larger animals. The least weasel, which inhabits most of North America, measures 4 to 10 inches (around 26 cm) in length and weighs approximately 0.9 ounces (25 grams).
Another specie of weasel, the long-tailed weasel that inhabits most of South America, measures about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in length, with the tail measuring up to 4 to 8 inches (about 20 cm) and weighing between 3 to 12.3 ounces (85 to 350 grams). Most male weasels are larger than the female by almost twice the female body size.
Weasels live in holes about 8.7 to 11.8 inches (22 to 30 cm) in diameter; this hole breeds the animal’s kits and suitably fits both the parent and the kits. However, most weasels can pass through tiny holes that measure about 7 to 8 inches in diameter without considering their kits or other family members because of their small bodies.
Can Weasels Live in Tree Trunks?
Weasels like high altitude areas — and dwelling on tree trunks isn’t new to most of them. They are both excellent swimmers and climbers, and this feature makes them sometimes nest on trees.
Although most weasels prefer nesting on rockpiles and burrowing under a tree, they sometimes use tree trunks as home. They naturally thrust out of the tree trunk, searching for food, and go back in, especially during the day.
Most people who have come in contact with this animal have met it in the tree trunk while walking amidst woodlands in the daytime. They usually burrow into tree trunks just like they can create a hole on the ground or use the hole created by other animals in the tree.
Weasels generally have short fur and legs and long narrow bodies. Their diet consists of mice, frogs, birds, etc., and they can thrive in small caves and other nettings where animals like chickens live.
Weasels generally mate in the summer, and the females usually give birth to an average of 6 kits per litter and keep them safe in a hole she has created or taken over from other animals. On daily hunting, weasels can eat up to a quarter of their body size. These animals exhibit territoriality, and they molt during the winter.