long-tailed weasel

(Mustela frenata noveboracensis)


This species has a long, slender body, and neck, short legs and a long bushy tail. The fur is dark brown dorsally and white-yellowish ventrally, with a black tail tip. The males are about 10-15% larger than the females. This species mates July or August. There is delayed implantation, with one litter, of 4-9 young are born in April or May in a nest chamber lined with fur, and grass. It is active day and night and does not normally travel long distances. This species is native and may live up to three years in the wild. Fox, bobcat, large hawks, owls, mink, marten, fisher, coyote, wolf and house cats may prey on this species.


This weasel is found throughout Virginia and in most every habitat.


They eat almost any rodent, bird, insect, reptile or grub. They may also occasionally catch squirrels or cottontail rabbits and eat carrion. They require up to 40% of their body weight in food daily and needs a constant supply of drinking water. Occasionally, during rodent scarcity, they turn to poultry, but are an overall asset in agriculture areas due to their rodent destruction.