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The Long-tailed Weasel

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The Long-tailed Weasel

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:30 pm

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Long-tailed Weasel
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Adult

Young LTW

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General Information;

Type: Mammal
Diet: Carnivore
Size: 30-45 cm (length)
Weight: 72-270 g
Conservation status:

Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Carnivora, Family: Mustelidae, Subfamily: Mustelinae, Genus: Mustela, Species: M. frenata
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Not applicable
Long-tailed Weasel Range


The long-tailed weasel, also known as the bridled weasel or big stoat is a species of mustelid distributed from southern Canada throughout all the United States and Mexico, southward through all of Central America and into northern South America.
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Physical Features;
The long-tailed weasel is one of the largest members of the genus Mustela in North America, with a total length of 300–350 mm and a tail comprising 40–70% of the head and body length. In most populations, females are 10–15% smaller than males, thus making them about the same size as large male stoats. The eyes are black in daylight, but glow bright emerald green when caught in a spotlight at night. The long-tailed weasel specifically has a small head along with long whiskers, plus a long body, neck, and short legs. It's tail consists of a black tip. It overall has brown fur on the upper part of the body and a white/yellow undercoat. However, long-tailed weasels that are found within the southwest consist of a white mask.
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Mental Features;
The long-tailed weasel is a solitary animal, except during mating season. It lives in the abandoned burrows other mammals, in rotting logs or under tree roots or rocks. Its nest is made of grass and leaves and lined with fur. The long-tailed weasel is most active in the night, but it also comes out in the day. It does not hibernate. The long-tailed weasel can climb trees and it is a good swimmer. It uses lots of different vocalizations including squeals, squeaks, trills and purrs. It also releases a strong smelling musk during mating season and when it is frightened. It is very aggressive when its territory is invaded.
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Diet;
The long-tailed weasel is an obligate carnivore which prefers its prey to be fresh or alive, eating only the carrion stored within its burrows. Rodents are almost exclusively taken when they are available. Its primary prey consists of mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, shrews, moles and rabbits. Occasionally, it may eat small birds, bird eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fish, earthworms and some insects. The species has also been observed to take bats from nursery colonies. It occasionally surplus kills, usually in spring when the kits are being fed, and again in autumn. Some of the surplus kills may be cached, but are usually left uneaten. After killing its prey, the long-tailed weasel laps up the blood, but does not suck it, as is popularly believed. With small prey, also the fur, feathers, flesh and bones are consumed, but only some flesh is eaten from large prey. When stealing eggs, the long-tailed weasel removes each egg from its nest one at a time, then carries it in its mouth to a safe location where it bites off the top and licks out the contents or if they have babies in the den they may hold it in their mouth all the way back to them.
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Threats towards this animal;
The threats towards this animal excluding wolves are:

Snakes, great-horned owls, coyotes, and red foxes.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/beastofexmoor/7600527530/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/keith_and_kasia/4838604886/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_Weasel
http://www.esf.edu/aec/adks/mammals/longtailed_weasel.htm
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