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Stoat

(Mustela erminea)

Size: 16-31cm –14cm tail Weight: 90-450g Lifespan: max. 10 years

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Identification: The stoat is a small, long-bodied member of the weasel family, brown above and white below with clear straight-line demarcation between the two and a long tail with a very obvious black tip. In Britain it is very unusual for stoats to turn completely white (to become ‘ermine’) in winter although this does happen in more northerly latitudes. General: Although the stoat will prey on voles and mice, being larger than the weasel it is also able to tackle larger prey In ermine such as rabbits, rats and ground-nesting birds and their eggs and nestlings. Mating takes place in the summer and a single large litter of kits is produced. These develop quickly and can become independent within 3 months. The stoat may occasionally be taken by larger predators such as foxes, cats or eagles and is heavily targeted by gamekeepers as it is perceived as a predator of game birds. Distribution - UK: Widespread, including upland areas, but thought to be declining in numbers. 67

MH

Cambridgeshire Mammal Atlas  
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