What Do Weasels Eat?

What do weasels eat?
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What Do Weasels Eat? Weasels are small animals (mammals) classified in the genus Mustela. These organisms are notable for their long necks and bodies, small heads, and short legs.

Weasels are related to badgers, stoats, otters, and wolverines. These animals are carnivorous. They obtain their nutrients from feeding on mice, voles, rabbits, squirrels, bird eggs, frogs, hedgehogs, moles, turtles, wasps, and small birds.

Other species are omnivorous, supplementing their meat diet with plant matter such as fruits and vegetables.

What Do Weasels Eat?

Type of Weasel Binomial Name Diet
Egyptian Weasel Mustela subpalmata Vegetables, fruits, small mammals such as rats, voles, rabbits, and mice, ducklings, chicks, and insects.
Amazon Weasel Mustela africana Carnivorous diet (rabbits, voles, mice, and squirrels)
Least Weasel Mustela nivalis Voles, mice, birds, insects, and carrion.
Long-tailed Weasel Mustela frenata Small mammals such as gophers, voles, rabbits, chipmunks, insects, and an array of small bird species.

Weasels Diet by Types

Scientists have described 17 weasel species. This section will sample out some of these species, and a further look at their habitats.

What Do Egyptian Weasels Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Carnivora Mustelidae Mustela Mustela subpalmata

What do Egyptian weasels eat?

Egyptian weasel is omnivorous, whose diet constitutes of vegetables, fruits, small mammals like rats, voles, rabbits, and mice, ducklings, chicks, and insects.

  • The Egyptian weasel is a small mammal whose distribution is limited to the Nile Delta and the lower Nile Valley in Egypt.
  • This weasel was previously considered to be a subspecies of the least weasel until much recently when it was considered as an independent species thanks to its morphology.
  • The Egyptian weasel inhabits terrestrial lands, artificial aquatic regions, and marine waters. This species can also be found next to human habitations.

What Do Amazon Weasels Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Carnivora Mustelidae Mustela Mustela africana

Amazon weasel is adapted to consuming a carnivorous diet. The Amazon weasel mainly feeds on terrestrial vertebrates such as rabbits, voles, mice, and squirrels.

  • The Amazon weasel is also referred to as the tropical weasel, and it is native to the Amazon basin.
  • This species is the second largest of the weasel species found in South America.
  • This species is adapted to lead a semi-aquatic life evidenced by its naked feet soles.
  • As such, this species will be found inhabiting areas next to water sources. This species will also be found in humid forests.

What Do Least Weasels Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Carnivora Mustelidae Mustela Mustela nivalis

What do least weasels eat?

Least weasels mainly feed on voles and mice. They also eat birds, insects, and carrion.

  • The least weasels are the smallest of all members of the weasel family.
  • The least weasel’s fur will tend to fluoresce under UV light.
  • This type of weasel favors habitats that include moors, marshes, grassland, woodland, mountains, dunes, and urban areas.
  • They mostly inhabit areas with good cover and an abundant supply of prey.

What Do Long-tailed Weasels Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Carnivora Mustelidae Mustela Mustela frenata
What do long-tailed weasels eat?
Source: Wikimedia

Long-tailed weasel mostly consumes small mammals, which may include gophers, voles, rabbits, and chipmunks. They may also eat insects and an array of small bird species.

  • The long-tailed weasel is notable because of its long-tail, which has a black tip.
  • This species is found in a wide range of habitats, which include open areas, woodland, farmland, and thickets.
  • They have a preference for areas next to a source of water.

How Do Weasels Hunt?

For weasels, hunting is a dynamic activity.

How do weasels hunt?

  • These organisms hunt in packs, a scenario that increases their odds of catching prey.
  • Their physique comes in handy for weasels when they hunt.
  • Their long bodies allow them to pursue and capture prey located in burrows, crevices, and holes.
  • Weasels can also hunt their prey by jumping in the air. They do this to capture birds.
  • After capturing their prey, a weasel would then proceed to use its muscular body to immobilize it before giving it a single bite behind the head to kill it.

When Do Weasels Eat?

Weasels are mostly nocturnal creatures, and will thus tend to be active at night and rest during the day. As such, weasels will likely be found foraging for food and eating during nightfall.

How Often Do Weasels Eat?

Weasels eat very often thanks to their small stature and active lifestyles. These organisms eat about 40% to 60% of their body weight, every given day.

What Eats Weasels?

What eats weasels? Foxes

Weasels are predated upon by organisms such as birds of prey such as hawks and owls, foxes, and domesticated cats and dogs (especially for those weasels found living next to human settlements). Snakes and coyotes also predate on weasels.

Where Do Weasels Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Weasels are essential to the animal food chain as prey and predators.

  • They provide a good source of nutrition to organisms that rely on them as food.
  • These small mammals also prey on organisms like voles, ground squirrels, terrestrial insects, mice, frogs, small birds, bird eggs, and rabbits, and thus help regulate their local population within their ecosystem.

Cite this article as: "What Do Weasels Eat?," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, February 6, 2019, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-weasels-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “ADW: Mustela subpalmata: INFORMATION”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Taxonomic status and origin of the Egyptian weasel ( Mustela subpalmata) inferred from mitochondrial DNA | SpringerLink”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “(PDF) Mustela africana (Carnivora: Mustelidae)”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) | Natural Resources Research Institute | UMN Duluth”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Long-tailed Weasel – Mustela frenata – NatureWorks”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Weasels and Minks | Wildlife Medical Clinic at Illinois”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Weasel – Facts, Diet & Habitat Information”. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.
  • “Who Eats Who?” – Glacier National Park. Accessed October 06, 2019. Link.

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