Stoats have several names. They are also referred to as short-tailed weasels or ermines. Stoats can be found in Europe, New Zealand, some parts of Asia and North America.
Stoat Appearance (What do Stoats look like?)
Stoats are furry mammals with long and thin bodies. They have a pointy snout. Male stoats are up to 40 cm long and weigh 350 g, while female stoats are up to 33 cm long and weigh about 240 g.
Stoat’s fur is very silky and dense. Their fur turns white in winter months and is brown in summer, while the fur on their chest remains white.
Also, the stoat fur in summer is more coarse and harder.
In New Zealand, they are also known as Toriura or Toata in the local language Maori.
Stoat Diet and Habitat (What do Stoats eat?)
Stoats are carnivores and very efficient predators. Their preferred meal includes rats, possums, birds, rabbits, squirrels, eggs and even some insects when they can’t find anything else to eat.
They attack their prey by a single bite to the neck. They are agile hunters, but when it comes to hunting rabbits, stoats use their clever mind. Watch this video on how a stoat hypnotises a rabbit before hunting it down.
Stoats like open landscapes, avoid closed forests; depending on mouse occurrence; altogether, their occurrence can be very variable.
They prefer sandy, dry areas such as hedgerows, fallow land, and dry ditches and embankments.
Stoat lifespan (How long do stoats live?)
Stoats in the wild live up to 5 years on an average and up to 8 years in exceptional cases. They can live up to 10 years when in captivity or human care.
More facts about stoats
- Stoats are quite similar to weasels. The sound they produce is also much similar to weasels.
- Stoats are territorial animals. Male stoats mark their territories by urinating and defecating in their occupied territory.
- Stoats steal the burrows of rodents they that they eat. They have several burrows within their area that they use as per their requirement.
- They belong to the mustelid family. Ferrets and weasels also belong to the mustelid family. The animals belonging to the mustelid family enjoy moving along straight lines.
- Stoats are excellent swimmers.
- Stoats communicate with each other through hissing and singing sounds.
- Despite their small size stoats can easily eat five mice a day.