The stoat is about 12 inches long and is light brown with black tips on their tails. They are quite widely distributed, all over the United Kingdom and Much of Northern Europe. Stoats do not populate North America.
They are carnivores, existing on small rabbits, eggs, birds, voles, mice, chickens and essentially, anything they can get their paws on. Being somewhat less than discriminatory in their eating habits.
Stoats have one litter of infants per year, usually in the spring time, but the breeding actually takes place in the early summer of the previous year.
The stoat female is able to keep the fertilized egg implanted but not active until they permit it to gestate almost a year later.
They will then after 30 days gestation, produce a litter of between six and twelve babies, which are called kits.
The kits are nursed by their parents til they are about two months old and are able to fend for themselves when they are about five weeks old. Interestingly, Kits are very adapt hunters when they reach 4-6 weeks of age.
Stoats do not hibernate during the winter time, instead they prefer stay inside on the colder days. They often turn completely white in the winter time.
A stoat will be mature and ready to mate at about one year and in the wild can live to be up to about ten years old, while a weasel, the cousin which the stoat is often confused with, will live only about three years.
The stoat is in no real danger of extinction in the UK, they are however threatened by hunting, habitat loss, poisoning and often get run over on the country roads.
They do tend to live around farms as the hedgerow habitat and plentiful food supply suits them.
They are particularly good at stealing eggs, such as chicken and game bird eggs, which causes them no small amount of conflict with the farmers.
Actually, there are indeed stoats in North America. I’ve seen several taxidermied stoats at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The tags report that the creatures were captured and killed in various locations in rural, northern Ontario.
However, the name “stoat” tends to used much less than in Britain, and “ermine” can refer to the creature all year around, alternating with “weasel”. It’s a shame – “stoat” is a wonderful word for such a bold creature as Mustela erminea…
this is a nice website!
the stoat is so cute but are you sure that is not an danger animal
We have a blue tit sleeping in our camera nest box every night. Today we saw a stoat in the garden fairly adjacent to the box. Is there any danger to the little bird?
ONE EARLY MORNING , LAST SUMMER ,I SAW A STOAT IN MY GARDEN I CONFIRMED THAT ON GOOGLE PICTURES. TWO DAYS AGO I SAW A BABY STOAT (A KIT) . WE LIVE ON THE VERGE OF GREEN BELT AND A FARM ON THE BORDER OF ROYTON AND ROCHDALE IN LANCASHIRE IN THE UK.
It might give you a bit of a bite but will not kill you. It will usually run from you. We have them in the garden and just love watching them. B
my next door neighbour informed me that the other day he saw a stoat eating a frog on his front lawn. It daes confirm that there is a family of stoat in our vicinity.
I’m afraid your blue tit is indeed at risk of becoming a meal, but there is nothing you can – or should – really do about it. If the bird is vigilant and lucky enough, it will escape unharmed. If the stoat is vigilant and lucky enough, it will have a meal.
It’s how Nature works. Think about it this way: chickens aren’t exactly the ugliest of creatures, nor are rabbits, and yet they are eaten by humans. If one thinks like a carnivore, when it comes down to it, nutritional value is more important than beauty. (Of course, that’s not to say that the blue tit isn’t beautiful and a wonderful sight!)
I RESIDE ON THE VERGE OF FARMLAND .WE USED TOM SEE BROWN HARES EVERYDAY EATING GRASS OR JUST SUNBATHING. SINCE LAST YEAR THE FARMER HAS ALLOWED A PERSON TO ROAM THE LAND WITH 2 DOBERMAN DOGS RUNNING FREELY .SINCE THEN THE BROWN HARES HAVE DISSAPPEARED.I WONDER WHETHER THIS ACTION IS WITHIN THE LAW .