British wildlife recordings
Mustela nivalis : Weasel - Mustelidae
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Oxford University Botanic Gardens: OS Grid Reference(451500,206500)
Weasel, Mustela nivalis
The call of the weasel recorded at Oxford University Botanic Gardens. The weasel is among the world's smallest carnivores and is a naturally inquisitive creature. Its long slender body and small size allows it to pursue small mammals down their tunnels. A weasel's head is the widest part of its body and if it can be squeezed into a mousehole, the rest of the body will follow. In fact, small rodents such as mice and voles may make up to eighty per cent of the weasel's diet. The coat of the weasel is chestnut brown with a white underside. Commonly confused with the stoat, the weasel is actually much smaller, and lacks the black tip to the tail. It is most often seen only for fleeting moments as it runs across roads and disappears into hedgerows. It will make a range of sounds including two threatening calls: an alarm hiss and a short, sharp bark if provoked, as well as a shrill, defensive squeal and an excited, high-pitched trill when encountering mates. The weasel is present in most habitats throughout Britain wherever there is sufficient cover and prey. However, despite being a very common mammal in Britain, very little is still known about its numbers due to the fact that it is so difficult to detect and study.