Ferret Characteristics: Behavior And Habitat

Ferret Characteristics: behavior and habitat

Agile, his sense of smell and hearing are good and he has a reputation for being aggressive. This is the weasel, a small carnivore that hunts prey that are more than five to ten times its size.  We will tell below some characteristics of this amazing mammal that tends to drink the blood of the animals it captures for food.

Weasel Characteristics

Widespread in both Eurasia and North America, the weasel is the smallest known mustelid species.  It has a life expectancy that varies from one to two years, although it can live up to eight years in captivity.

Its physical characteristics include:

  • Height at withers: 20 to 35 centimeters.
  • Weight: between 60 and 170 grams (males) and between 40 and 65 grams (females).
  • Body: Elongated, flexible and slender, with a length between 17 and 23 centimeters.
  • Coat: Dense but short in winter and finer in summer. Color, on the other hand, is variable.  It can range from brown or dark chocolate to light reddish brown. Both the belly and other lower areas, including the mouth and face, are white.
  • Head: flat
  • Muzzle: short
  • Eyes: Prominent and dark in color.
  • Ears: Short and rounded.
  • Dentures: Powerful and sharp.
  • Neck: elongated
  • Legs: Short and round, with five fingers and sharp nails.
  • Tail: Uniform in color and 3 to 17 cm long.

Learn more about the weasel

With territorial habits, as it uses feces and urine to mark its territory, the weasel is solitary: it is only seen in small family nuclei when it is in the breeding season. It is an active animal both day and night, moving in leaps and bounds.

It adapts to different territories, as long as it can make a living and has enough vegetation to hide.  Thus, it can be found in regions at sea level or in higher altitude areas.

Its adaptability is reinforced by the fact that it uses burrows built by other animals. Although it is able to seek shelter, for example, in tree trunks, abandoned human buildings and holes in rocks.

As for the breeding of weasels, some issues stand out. During the heat, the males fight among themselves and the female’s gestation period lasts between 34 and 37 days, giving birth between four and eight offspring.  They can reach up to three births a year if conditions are right.

Physically, young weasels are born hairless, with their eyes closed and weighing 1 to 3 grams.  After nine to twelve weeks, the nuclear family breaks down.

Like this tiny, voracious carnivore hunts

This tiny mustelid is quick and silent when searching for its food.  One of the ferret’s characteristics is that it has certain hunting routes: it can easily climb trees, dig holes and enter them without problems. You can even dive and swim to get your food.

Also, it usually stands on its hind legs to sniff and identify its prey. She immobilizes the animals with her front legs and kills them by biting the back of the head.

Ferret Characteristics: behavior and habitat

At first, she usually drinks the blood of the captured animal, taking it to a safer place to eat it more easily. It should be noted that the weasel has a very accelerated metabolism, and must feed for a good part of the day.

Ferret Prey and Predators

The diet of this small mammal is very varied and includes animals much larger in size and weight.  Among their usual fangs, we can point out:

  • rabbits
  • hares
  • Mice
  • Shrews
  • Chickens and other barnyard birds
  • doves
  • birds
  • partridges

However, it is important to note that it can eat fish, insects and some reptiles and amphibians. It even attacks nests in search of eggs with chicks.

Among its natural enemies are other carnivores, such as the wild cat, the genet and large birds of prey.  The chicks, in turn, are victims of snakes and lizards.

What did you think about knowing about the ferret’s characteristics?

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