Sunday, 13 April 2008

Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis)

Latin Etymology: Mustela ("weasel") nivalis ("snowy")

Adult Least Weasel (subspecies M. n. nivalis) at Grafton Underwood, Northants - April 2017

Featured Subspecies: Mustela nivalis nivalis
Weight: 29-270g
Length: 130-260mm
IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Least Weasel is perhaps most notable as the smallest of all of carnivora in not just the UK but the entire world - and also among the most broadly distributed being found across most of the Northern Hemisphere.  Despite it's tiny size however, it is proportionately an incredibly powerful predator - for an animal whose skull can apparently fit through a wedding ring they can take down prey that is vastly larger than them such as rabbits.  A widely common species throughout the UK, but also rarely seen - I've only seen a handful ever and always unexpectedly.

Related Species:
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Mustelidae 
Genus: Mustela 
SUBSPECIES: M. n. nivalis, M. n. allegheniensis, M. n. boccamela, M. n. campestris, M. n. caucasica, M. n. eskimo, M. n. heptneri, M. n. mosanensis, M. n. namiyei, M. n. numidica, M. n. pallida, M. n. pygmaea, M. n. rixosa, M. n. rossica, M. n. russelliana, M. n. stoliczkana, M. n. tonkinensis, M. n. vulgaris, M. n. vulgaris

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Description
 - Seen at Rainham Marshes and Geddington.

Further Notes: Arkive, BirdForum Opus, BirdGuides, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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