What is an ermine?
The ermine is the smallest animal of the weasel family, but it’s one of the most beautiful animals. It’s also known as stoat or short-tailed weasel. These animals have a very dense and silky white winter coat, often with a black tail. They lose their winter fur and grow short brown hair for the summer days. But don’t be fooled by its beauty – just take a look at their diet, and it makes it obvious: This adorable creature is super dangerous! At least if you’re a small animal trying to survive in the same habitat.
What's their natural habitat?
Well, it’s not in your backyard. Ermines are shy and elusive animals who prefer to live deep in the woods or mountains. They’re also nocturnal, so you’ll rarely see them during the day.
They live in temperate zones of North America, Europe, and Asia.
What do they eat?
They’re not just cute and fluffy. They can be pretty darn deadly. At least if you’re a small animal. Ermines are true carnivores, meaning they eat a diet of rabbits and other rodents, like mice, voles, and squirrels. They also eat birds, fish, and insects.
What's the average lifespan of an ermine?
The average lifespan of an ermine is 5-7 years. But occasionally, the hunter becomes the hunted. Other carnivores, like foxes, or owls, don’t refuse an ermine on their dinner table. Luckily, those little animals are, like all mustelids, quick, smart, and very careful and rarely fall prey to other predators.
No. Even though much of their natural habitat has been destroyed by humans for farming or logging purposes, which means less food for them to eat, they’re not endangered.
Here's an interesting fact about ermines!
Ermines have been introduced to New Zealand to control the population of rabbits and hares. But being quite good tree climbers, they have become a significant threat to the country’s bird populations.