Weasel Facts

Weasels live in a variety of habitats, such as open fields, woodlands, thickets, roadsides and farmlands. They typically thrive in environments abundant with small prey (like small rodents) and with an available source of water. Most weasels live in either abandoned burrows, or nests under trees or rockpiles.

Weasels are carnivores that mainly prey on small vertibrates. They are adept hunters that eat around 40% of their body weight each day. Rodents make up a large part of their diets, although they are known to be opportunistic predators that will feed on whatever’s available to them.

Signs

While many homeowners benefit from the presence of weasels as they often control rodent populations, weasels can be a nuisance when they gain access to poultry houses and prey on fowl or pets.

Signs of weasels and their damage include:

- Killed poultry, often bitten in the head or neck

- Stolen poultry eggs

- Killed rabbits

- Weasel tracks: small footprints with five toes and visible clawmarks on each foot

Trapping Tips

Determine Trap Placement

Find a location for your trap - preferably where they’ve been causing damage. If you haven’t yet located specific damage, place your trap alongside the closest source of water, which your weasels most likely frequent to keep hydrated.

The best locations for your weasel trap include:

- inside a barn or poultry house

- beside a chicken coop or pen

- at the base of a commonly-raided tree

- along a stream or creek

It’s very important to pinpoint a location that’s well covered; weasels almost never hunt out in the open and are more likely to enter your trap in a protected area.


Select and Position Bait

Use fresh meat, if possible.

Position your bait strategically, so that the weasel must bring its entire body into the trap and step on the trigger plate to get to it.

Make sure that the bait is far enough from the trap walls that an animal cannot reach inside and steal it without entering.


Check Trap Frequently

Monitor your trap so that you can take care of the weasel promptly once he’s captured. Animals should never be left in cage longer than necessary, as they can quickly grow anxious, hungry, thirsty and overheated the longer they are trapped without food and exposed to the elements.


Once Caught

Weasels are known to bite, so wear heavy gloves whenever handling the trapped animal and refrain from sticking your fingers inside the trap.

Approach and handle the trap in a calm and steady manner in an effort to keep the animal calm as well.

If local laws permit, relocate the weasel to another similar environment at least 10 miles from your property.

Trivia

Weasel Behavior

Activity Since they do not hibernate, weasels are active all year long. Depending on the climate and season, they may display nocturnal or diurnal behavior.

Reproduction Females reach sexual maturity at about 3 months of age. Mating typically occurs in late spring and summer and gestation periods vary with the species.

Hunting Weasels are cunning and adept predators that hunt prey tirelessly throughout the day and night. They’re skilled climbers, swimmers and runners. Their long, slender bodies allow them to raid underground burrows, follow rodents into small spaces and wrap themselves around larger prey to hold them still. Weasels often kill more prey than they can eat, storing the overkill for later consumption.

Social Behavior Aside from when they are mating or weaning young, weasels are solitary animals that fend for themselves in the wild. They are known to be territorial, defending their home ranges when invaded.