The weasel is a small, long-bodied, carnivorous mammal. Three species of weasels are found in Ontario:
Short-tailed weasel (ermine) has white feet and a black tail tip.
Diet: All species of weasel eat small mammals and insects. Short-tailed weasels eat young rabbits and larger rodents as well.
Long-tailed weasel (big stoat) are about 1.5 times the size of short-tailed weasels (about the size of a grey squirrel) and have brown feet during the summer. and the least weasel does not have a black tip on the tail.
Diet: All species of weasel eat small mammals and insects. Long-tailed weasels eat young rabbits and larger rodents as well.
Least weasel is the smallest species and is quite rare.
Diet: All species of weasel eat small mammals and insects. Least weasels are as small as the mice on which they prey.
During the winter, the fur of all three species changes from brown to white to provide camouflage. In southern Ontario, where there is little or no snow, their fur may stay brown year-round.
The Fisher (Martes) is a member of the weasel family, with a typically pointed face and rounded ears. Body length ranges from 51 to 63 cm; tail, 33-38 cm. The male (2.7-5.4 kg) is almost twice as large as the female (1.4-3.2 kg). Fishers feed mainly on snowshoe hare, squirrels and small mammals. They are known for their ability to prey on porcupines.
Mink has short legs, a long, weasel-like neck and trunk, and a small, sharply pointed face with small ears are dark brown with some white on the chest and abdomen. Although the feet are not webbed, mink swim and dive well. The fur is dense and lustrous and serves as insulation even in water. Males reach 1.8 kg in weight and 60 cm in length; females weigh less than 1 kg. Give birth in late Apr and May. The litter size is usually 5 (range 1-10) and young reach adult weight in 4 to 10 months (females and males, respectively) Mink feed on a variety of fish, invertebrates (especially sea crabs), small mammals and amphibians.
Martens are a shy and very solitary member of the Weasel family. Similar to mink in size and colour, except that the Marten tail is bushy and almost black compared to the rest of the body, which is dark brown. They are mainly nocturnal but occasionally can be seen during the day chasing a squirrel. Martens are less carnivorous than other weasels. They eat birds’ eggs, insects and, when in season, blueberries. In fact, they’ve been known to eat so many blueberries that their lips are noticeably blue!