The weasel is Britain's smallest carnivore and belongs to the same family as the stoat and otter. It is a fierce hunter and is usually only spotted as a long, thin tan-coloured streak as it dashes across a road or woodland path.

Breeding

Weasels mate in the spring and this is the only time males and females associate with each other. After a 5 week gestation period (the time between mating and birth) a litter of 3 - 8 babies (kittens) is born, in April or May. There may be a second litter in July or August. The kittens are born in a nest of leaves or grass in a hole or crevice. Their eyes open when they are about three weeks old and they are weaned at 4 - 5 weeks. The family often goes out hunting together until the youngsters can kill for themselves at 8 weeks. At 12 weeks the mother drives her offspring away to find territories of their own. Young weasels, born early in the year, are capable of breeding themselves during their first summer, unlike other British carnivores which do not breed until their second year.

Read More: Weasels and humans

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