Hi, Emily again 🙂
This week I have decided to write about weasels. They are our smallest carnivore and widespread throughout Britain, but absent from most off-shore islands and Ireland. Being so widespread, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are found in a wide range of habitats. These range from urban areas, marshes, woodland, lowland pasture and moors. Prey for weasels are less numerous in areas such as high altitudes and very dense woodlands and as a result weasels are far less common in these areas. A weasel’s prey are small rodents such as voles and mice. If rodents are scarce then birds, eggs and even rabbits will be eaten. It is very common for dens made by prey species to be taken over.
In colder climates in Europe these dens are sometimes lined with the fur of lemming prey. During the breeding season it is usual for one litter of 4-6 young to be born, but this will often increase to two litters if field voles are abundant.
During the Mammal Society’s recent Review of the Population and Conservation Status of Britain’s Mammals, it was not possible to update the 1995 Review’s population estimate due to a lack of data. This highlights that we need much more data on weasel abundance, densities and distributions! You can help by downloading the Mammal Mapper app and taking part in a Walk This Water Way survey!
You can help us to monitor weasels by downloading the Mammal Mapper App and participating in our latest project “Walk This Water Way” Although mammals can be hard to spot, any sightings or signs along a linear feature such as a waterway can help us gather some very important data! All you have to do is walk at least 600m of waterway and record your sightings in the app. You’ll need to enter the Survey ID as WTWW. More information about Walk This Water Way can be found here.