Long-Tailed Weasel

Long-Tailed Weasel          Mustela frenata

Type of Animal:

Woodlands, thickets, grassland, farmland, suburbs, light forest, scrub forest, chaparral, desert, shrubland, thick bush

S Canada, much of Continental US except for parts of SW, most of Mexico except for NW part (though some found in far N Baja), C America, W Colombia, NW Brazil-E Colombia-S Venezuela border area, N Venezuela, C Ecuador, C Peru, & small part of Bolivia

Dorsal fur brown in summer, underbelly whitish w/ yellow/buff tinge, black tip tail, becomes white in winter in more northern climes w/ yellow tints, some in Florida & SW have white or yellow facial markings, eyes black during day, emerald green at night, long body/neck, short legs

Mice, voles, rats, rabbits, hares, chipmunks, gophers, squirrels, shrews, moles, birds up to size of chickens & ducks, insects, snakes, crayfish, fruit, berries, bird eggs, earthworms, bats, fish, amphibians, lizards, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, turtles, newborn fox kits

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & nature centers


Additional Info:


Male- 10-18 oz
Female- 5-9 oz
Young- 0.31 oz

10 months

Life Span:
5 years

Body Length:
Male- 1.5-1.7 ft
Female- 0.95 ft

Tail Length:
Male- 7-8 in
Female- 3.75 in

Main predators are raptors, foxes, coyotes, snakes, bobcats, cats, & dogs.

Breeding season usually mid-summer w/ implantation being delayed & egg not developing until early spring w/ births occurring in mid-spring.

Females have anything from 1-12 kits in a litter.

Weasels weaned at around a month, & leave at around 3 months.

Females sexually mature at 3 months, males at around 10 months.

1 male’s territory covers several female territories.

More nocturnal, but sometimes active during the day.

Uses many different vocalizations, such as squeals, squeaks, trills, & purrs.

Also called the bridled weasel or big stoat.

Fun Fact(s):
Due to high metabolism, they can eat up to 40% of body weight in single day.

Its thin body is perfect for getting into rodent burrows.

Prey killed by quick bite to the base of skull.

Beneficial in that they eat rodents but detrimental in that they eat chickens & have been known to kill entire flocks in a single night for caching.

Strong smelling musk released when frightened & during breeding season.

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