Stoat (Mustela erminea)
The stoat is a mammal of the genus Mustela of the family Mustelidae native to Eurasia and North America. The name ermine is often, but not always, used for the animal in its pure white winter coat, or the fur thereof. In the late 19th century, stoats were introduced into New Zealand to control rabbits, where the stoats have had a devastating effect on native bird populations. As with the least weasel, mouse-like rodents predominate in the stoat’s
diet. However, unlike the least weasel, which almost exclusively feeds
on small voles, the stoat regularly preys on larger rodent and lagomorph species. The stoat is an opportunistic predator, which moves rapidly and checks every available burrow or crevice for food.The stoat is a usually silent animal, but can produce a range of sounds
similar to those of the least weasel. Kits produce a fine chirping
noise. On average, males measure 187–325 mm in body length, while females measure 170–270 mm.