NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

Long-tailed Weasel Facts

Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) distribution map

What they look like: Weasels have a reddish-brown summer coat except for their yellowish-white belly. They begin shedding their summer coats during early fall and replacing them with lighter colored winter coats.

Some long-tailed weasels are nearly all white in the winter time. Imagine a furry white snowball running around, that's the long-tailed weasel. This helps them blend in with the snow and protects them from hungry hunters. When the weather gets warmer the weasels trade their warm fur coats for shorter, darker colors. They are always in fashion and like to blend in with their area.

Long-tailed Weasel photo by National Park Service

How big they are: Male Long-tailed Weasels are larger (13-16 inches in length; 6-16 oz) than females (11-14 inches in length; 3-9 oz). Their tails are nearly half the size of their head and body combined. It has a pretty black tip that looks like it was dipped in black ink.

Where they live: Long-tailed weasels live in many different places like the woods, and places with thick bushes. They are found in places with plenty of water and many rats and mice. Just like people who can live in the city or the country, they can live pretty much anywhere. Their homes are usually found in rock piles, junk heaps, abandoned buildings, and old burrows dug by mice, ground squirrels, moles, or chipmunks.

What they eat: Long-tailed Weasels are no picky eaters, but they eat only meat! I bet you would like that! If you were a Long-tailed Weasel you would never have to eat vegetables again! They eat mice, rats, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, shrews, moles, and rabbits. Sometimes they will eat birds, bird eggs, snakes, frogs, and insects. They use tunnels made by other animals to hunt for their food.

Behavior: Long-Tailed Weasels make a loud chirping sound when they are scared or they are ready to attack. When they feel friendly and meet another weasel they will make a low trilling sound, like a whistle.

They can be seen during the day, but are most active at night. Just like people, they like to sleep in. Weasels run with their backs arched like a bridge and tail held straight out. They also are great swimmers and quick tree climbers.

Long-tailed Weasel Tracks
by J. Wernet, age 12
Long-tailed Weasel Tracks
Long-tailed Weasel Silhouette

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

Photo: National Park Service

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