The weasel (Mustela nivalis) is a beast of the family Weasels (Mustelidae). Its original area of occurrence is North America, Europe (including the Czech Republic), Asia and North Africa, but it has also been introduced to various other places, such as New Zealand. It is the smallest beast in the world, usually weighing less than a quarter of a kilogram. He has a slender, cylindrical body with short legs. It is a solitary and territorial animal, whose home territory measures from 0.2 to 26 hectares. They feed mainly on various smaller animals, especially various rodents. But it can also catch animals up to the size of a hare. Reproduction does not depend on the season, pregnancy is usually slightly over a month long. Unlike many other species of weasels, females do not undergo delayed nidation. The number of young in the litter is usually 4 to 10. Young individuals reach sexual maturity within 4 months at the latest. Mortality is significant, especially among young, and weasels rarely live more than 2 years in the wild. It can be up to about 10 in captivity. The weasel is widely distributed with a relatively large population, so the IUCN considers it to be a little affected species.
The size is highly variable, the body measures 11-26 cm, the tail another 4 to 9 cm. The weight is usually in the range of 30-250 g. The heaviest molds are from Egypt, where males weigh up to about 390 grams. Males are always larger than females, by 10 to 20% in length, by 50 to 100% by weight. The coat is milky brown to rusty brown with a whitish bib and underside. There is usually a yellow stripe on the throat, smaller brown spots on the cheeks and abdomen. The tail, unlike the ermine, does not have a black tip. The northern populations turn white for the winter, the southern ones usually do not. In the Czech Republic, weasels do not usually color for the winter, they only lighten.
The weasels of Kolchava are looking for drier places in the open countryside - fields and meadows with borders, less in the vicinity of human dwellings. They look for shelters in various crevices, piles of wood, tree cavities and mouse burrows.
The food is mice and voles, less insects, amphibians and birds, exceptionally rabbits, hares or pheasants.
Way of life
Weasels live alone in various crevices and cavities. They are active especially at dusk and in the morning, but they are often caught hunting during the day. They move quickly, with small, 10–30 cm long jumps, often sticking. They cover 1.5-2.5 km per day. In the wild, the kolčava lives two, at most three years (two thirds of the young die during the first year of life), in captivity it can live up to ten years. Predators are mainly birds of prey, owls and foxes.
For most of the year, the individual sexes live separately or in family communities on a small area of 1-5 ha. Rutting takes place mainly in the spring. Females have 3-4 pairs of milk nipples; after 30-37 days of gestation, they usually give birth to 4-6 naked pups weighing 1.5 g (if there is an overgrowth of rodents, the so-called vole year, the litter can be up to double). The young are blind for 21-24 days, the female nurses them for four weeks and takes care of them for about three months. It usually has one, at most two litters a year.
The enlargement area covers most of Europe (missing in Ireland and Iceland) and Asia, as well as North Africa. More recently, the weasel living in North America is also included in this species.
In the Czech Republic, it is the most common species of beast, occurring in about 94% of the territory.
Since mid-2002, weasels have not been allowed to hunt. Previously (according to Decree 134/1996 Coll.) The weasel was protected year-round, with the exception specified in § 6 paragraph 2 (permission to shoot in pheasants and hunting grounds with a permanent occurrence