This cute little creature is also known as the Altai weasel or the pale weasel, and it prefers to live in high altitudes of 11,480 feet or more as well as rocky tundra and grassy woodlands. The Mountain Weasel rest in abandoned burrows, tree trunks, and rock crevices belonging to other animals or animals they hunted. It can be found all over Asia, from Korea, some parts of Russia and Siberia, north-east China, Mongolia, the Himalayas, and all across to Tibet and Kazakhstan. However, they are more commonly found in Ladakh, India. The Mountain Weasel is considered as a species that is ‘near threatened’ according to the IUNC due to its loss of habitat.
On the prowl
A male Mountain Weasel has a body length of about 8.5 to 11 inches, with a tail of about 4 to 6 inches long. Males weigh between 8 to 12 oz on average. Females are slightly smaller, as their head to body length is about 8.5 to 10 inches, and their tail is also smaller at about 3.5 to 5 inches long. Their weight is about 4 to 8 oz.
The Mountain Weasel has seasonal molts during spring and autumn. Its summer coat is grey to grey-brown fur, with some light yellow fur. During the winter, it has a dark yellow wish some brown fur. Their underbelly is always a pale yellow or a creamy white, and their upper head section between the muzzle and ears is usually a dark grey-brown. Their lips are white.
It is a solitary animal, except during the mating season. When they are mating, it is polygynous which basically means that there is 1 male and multiple females. They can reproduce more than once during their lifetime, however they only breed once a year. Males fight severely to access females. Mating season happens around February or March, with their young having a gestation period of about 30 to 49 days and are thus born around May.
The Mountain Weasel is adapt at swimming, climbing, and running. As their bodies are long and they have short legs, this makes them very agile creatures who are quick and light on their feet. They are certainly nimble creatures who can move around with ease.
They are nocturnal, but they may hunt during the day. They communicate with other Mountain Weasels through both vocal and visual communication. This may sound strange, but they have very good vision and thus it is possible to communicate visually. They communicate with each other to warn of a possible predator, protect their territory, and when mating. If they are threatened, they make a lard chirring noise as well as excerete a bad, pungent odor from their anal glands.
A mountain weasel going out from its home
The Mountain Weasel is strictly a carnivore. They usually eat on pikas and voles, and thus they play an important part in ecology by reducing the populations of these rodents. They are also known to eat rabbits, muskrats, ground squirrels, lizards, fish, insects, small birds, and frogs.