Weasel

Mountain weasel (Mustela altaica)

Description:
Mountain weasels have brown fur with a yellowish belly and white feet.

Mountain weasel

Figure 1: Mountain weasel

Relevance to snow leopard conservation:
The Mountain weasel is important small mammal predator in the ecosystem where they live.  They may scavenge on the carrion left by snow leopards.

Behavior:
Mountain weasels are mostly nocturnal, although they do occasionally hunt during the day. Not much is known about the social behavior of mountain weasels but they are believed to be solitary except when raising a litter.

Diet:
Mountain weasels eat small mammals, birds, lizards, and occasionally insects and berries.

Habitat:
Mountain weasels mostly live in rocky terrain at elevations up to 3,500 meters and above. They nest among rocks and tree roots or in the burrows of rodents.

Animals that could be mistaken for this species:
In research camera photos, weasels can sometimes be confused with stone martens due to their similar shape and build. However, mountain weasels are generally lighter in color, have longer necks, and thinner tails.

Images of weasels

These are images from our research cameras that CatCam visitors have identified as containing at least one weasel. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image

References

Gurung, K.K., & Singh, R. (1996). Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent: Where to watch mammals in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. London: Academic Press.

Sherrill, E. 2002. “Mustela altaica” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 25, 2012 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_altaica.html