Weasel (Mustela nivalis vulgari)
Species: M. nivalis
Sub species: M. nivalis vulgari
Binomial name: Mustela nivalis vulgari
Common name: Weasel
Mustela nivalis vulgari introduced into New Zealand 1885-86. The are the smallest of the three mustelids found in New Zealand and are now rare in most districts. They have an irregular margin between dorsal and ventral colouration and may have distinct brown spot at corner of mouth, sometimes also brown spots on abdomen.
They are solitary and are active both during the day and at night. They make nests in crevices, tree roots or abandoned burrows and they have a range of 1 – 25 hectares. They feed mainly on lizards, insects, small rodents such as mice, eggs and small birds. They need to consume at least one third of their body weight each day in order to survive.
Mustela nivalis vulgari have gestation period of 34 – 37 days, 4 – 6 kits are born. When the youngsters are 4 weeks old they are weaned and they are able to hunt at 8 weeks old. They are independent at 9 – 12 weeks old and they reach sexual maturity at 3 – 4 months old and can produce up to 12 young a year.
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A photo showing the sizes of New Zealands three Mustela species.
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