Unique Traits The weasel is the smallest carnivorous mammal in the world, but despite its tiny size, it is an extremely vicious and ruthless hunter. It is a solitary animal that spends most of its life preying on small animals both by day and by night. One of the weasel’s unique hunting techniques is entering the burrows of its prey — something that most predators are unable to do. Its long, slender body is perfectly suited for following its prey into their tunnels and homes. The weasel has a small and narrow head, short legs, and a flexible spine which enables it to get into small and narrow openings. Once the weasel smells its prey, it will not let up until it tracks it down, often following the trail of its prey right into its burrow or den. Like all professional hunters, the weasel is equipped with an array of lethal weapons. It has sharp, pointed canine teeth, which are used for biting and tearing flesh, and can kill an animal more than double its size. The weasel’s arsenal also includes 10 toes that are tipped with small, non-retractable claws. The weasel is a strong and ferocious fighter, and can move extremely fast. It is fearless and has been known to attack animals much larger and stronger than itself, such as bears and porcupines. If a weasel feels threatened, it will even attack humans. The weasel can also be a stealthy hunter, sneaking up on its prey without making a sound before launching its attack. It sometimes uses camouflage to spring up on its prey. During the summer months, the weasel is light brown so it can blend in with the fields of its surroundings. During the winter months, the weasel’s coat turns white so it can hide in the snow. Only the tip of its tail remains black throughout the year. This black tip helps the weasel escape from birds of prey. A bird will spot the black tip of the tail and mistake it for the weasel’s head. The bird will then dive toward the weasel’s “head” to attack, unknowingly focusing its attack on the nonvulnerable tail. After the bird misses its real target, the weasel runs away from the bird, unharmed.
Did You Know? •
Weasels are very quick and are noted for their lightningspeed movements. •
Weasels often stand on their hind legs to search for food and look out for predators. •
The weasel uses its long whiskers as a guide while traveling in the dark. •
Often, weasels do not need to make their own nest, as they use the nest, tunnel, or burrow of one of the animals they have eaten. •
The weasel will sometimes catch its prey by dancing! The “Weasel War Dance” is a play dance put on by weasels to confuse their prey. The weasel bounces all about, ﬂipping over and hopping sideways. Once its prey becomes mesmerized, the weasel attacks.
The following are excerpts from Exploring the Wild World of Animals by Efraim Harari, published by Israel Bookshop Publications. VOLUME 2 DUE OUT IN NOVEMER!
Following the wild success of Exploring the Wild World of Animals, the first book in his “Jewish World of Wonders series,” author Efraim Harari is back with a second volume, one which explores the beautiful and mysterious world of fish and other aquatic creatures. In Exploring the Wet & Wild Underwater World, readers are taken on a spectacular journey through the oceans, seas, and rivers of the world, to learn the wonders and design of 35 beautiful and unique marine animals.
Q : To a re-tail store. A
: Where did the long-tailed weasel go when he cut his tail?
HESVAN 5774 OCTOBER 2013