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5 Fascinating Facts About Weasels & Stoats
Although they are very common animals, not much is known about weasels. I built habitats in my garden so that I could study them for my paintings, following their every move via wildlife cameras. Members of the mustelid family, the same animal family as stoats, wolverines and badgers, I discovered some fascinating facts about these secretive creatures.
For US readers: In my blogs, a weasel refers to your ‘least weasel’ and stoat is your ‘short-tailed weasel’. For more on ID and definitions: CLICK HERE
1. Weasels & Stoats Are Good Swimmers
They love water. In fact, they can swim and dive underwater like mini otters from a very young age.
2. Weasels & Stoats Are Excellent Climbers
Weasels and stoats are surprisingly arboreal – they can climb trees as well as any squirrel and will even raid birds nests high in the canopy.
3. Weasels Are Animal Escape Artists
These animals have developed fascinating adaptations to help them hunt. They have long whiskers on the elbows of their front legs. These are highly sensitive and help them to grasp prey. They also help them manoeuvre through tiny spaces. And there are even a few whiskers on their tails to help them reverse out of tight burrows, feeling their way backwards. No wonder people who slip out of situations are described as ‘weasels’.
4. Weasels Are Clever
In fact they are not just clever, they are highly intelligent! If you look at the size of a weasel skull you can see that the area given over to its brain is huge! Watch this weasel as takes minutes to complete an assault course.
5. Weasels Are Fearless
One of the most captivating images in wildlife photography featured a weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker in flight. They are utterly fearless. And when you take into account their size, they have to be to survive. Female weasels are small enough to slip through a wedding ring. Their tenacity is awesome. Gram for gram, weasels are actually stronger than lions! Below is a stoat, equally tenacious, eyeing up a kestrel.
Author: Robert E Fuller