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Weasel

Braided River Status

Uncommon but periodically found along braided rivers.

Description

Introduced into New Zealand in the mid-1800s, the weasel (Mustela nivalis vulgar) or least weasel is a member of the mustelid family, along with the larger stoats and the much larger ferrets. 

Similar in colour and general appearance to stoats, weasels are much less common and have distinctly shorter tails. Like stoats, there is a clear demarcation in colour from the reddish-brown fur on their backs and their yellow-white belly fur. Male weasels are 200mm long and weigh 130g. Females are 170-240mm and weight  60g.  In alpine areas, some stoats develop a pure white winter fur, though this is rare in New Zealand. They are known to be predated by cats, an aspect of the complex predator guild not well-understood on braided rivers.

weasels

weasels

 

Why are they a problem?

While they are not as much of a problem as stoats, they are also agile, excellent climbers, that hunt at any time, day or night

  • Known predators of some native birds, and particularly native reptiles and invertebrates

Conservation Activities

  • Trapping. DOC 150 and DOC 200 traps are generally not as effective. the Goodnature A24 may be more effective. As they maybe be misataken for stoats, we recommend you call your local DOC office for advice.

More information

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