What is a stoat?
What is a stoat? Stoats are small mammals in the Mustelid family. They are often called short-tailed weasels; those with a white winter coat are called ermines and have been proven to be excellent hunters. Their scientific name is Mustela erminea.
What do stoats eat?
The stoat is a skilled predator that can be dangerous to other animals and even kill rabbits twice their own size! WOW! They feed on small animals such as birds and their eggs, rodents, squirrels, voles, mice, and moles. Sometimes they are spotted in farmers’ fields hunting for chickens and rabbits. They even eat poisonous snakes and any other animal that they can fit in their mouth. Stoats have also been known to eat fish if they can catch them.
Stoats were introduced into New Zealand in 1864 to control the rabbit population.
Since then, they have generally been considered an invasive species in New Zealand, as they also eat native bird and lizard species.
But life ain’t easy if you’re a stoat.
They have many threats that may affect their lives; wolves are finding them whilst scavenging between rocks to escape the cold; eagles are killing them while they try to hunt a rabbit; foxes hunt them as well; large numbers of stoats being killed due to road traffic accidents; or the worst possible case of all, people are killing them!
What do stoats look like?
Stoats come in different colors ranging from white or cream to brown, black and yellow. They can grow up to 12 inches long. Stoats don’t possess an undercoat; instead, they are covered with fine guard hairs that are usually white or buff, enabling them to blend well into snow but most of all into the background of forest twilight where they live. White stoats are often called ermine.
Starting A Family
Female stoats give birth to 1 baby after a gestation of 44 days. Baby stoats are blind and deaf at birth. However, their eyes open after about a week, and they start to hear after 3 weeks. The babies weigh up to 0.5 ounces (14 g) at birth but proliferate as long as the food is abundant in the area. Stoats can be weaned after 10 days old, and males leave their mothers earlier than females.
The weaned babies (kits) are small and find shelter between rocks and crevices while their mother hunts for food; the kits eat the same things as their mum – pre-killed small animals.
In a nutshell:
Stoats are small mammals with an interesting life cycle. They have many threats, but they always manage to survive! You can’t keep them as pets, but you can get a Stoat/Ermine Art Print from our store! We’ve got the whole weasel family, including weasels, ferrets, otters, and of course, stoats! Perfect for decorating your wall fast, easy, and affordable. Get yours now!