Ermine Facts

Ermine Facts
Ermine is small mammal that belongs to the family of weasels. It can be found in subarctic and arctic parts of the North America, Europe and Asia. Ermine inhabits woodlands, marshes, scrublands and areas near the rivers. Ermines are welcome in many local communities because of their ability to eradicate pest. Unfortunately, they are often on a target of hunters because of their fur that is still popular in the fashion industry. Despite that, number of ermines in the wild is still large and stable.
Interesting Ermine Facts:
Ermine can reach 6.7 to 13 inches in length and 0.9 to 4.1 ounces of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Color of the fur depends on the season. Ermine has reddish brown fur on the backs and white fur on the belly during the spring and summer. Completely white coat provides camouflage in the snowy areas during the winter.
Ermine has small, triangular head, rounded ears, elongated whiskers, sleek body, short legs and long tail.
Ermine has sharp claws that facilitate digging and climbing on the trees. It can easily walk across the snow and swim when necessary.
Ermine is nocturnal creature (active during the night).
Ermine is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on mice, shrews, voles, insects, frogs, fish, birds and eggs. It uses keen sense of smell and hearing to locate the prey. Ermine kills the prey by destroying the center for breathing that is located at the base of the skull.
Ermine moves in a zigzag manner, bouncing 20 inches from the ground after each leap. It can travel more than 9 miles per night to find food.
Natural enemies of ermines are red foxes, American martens, badgers, raptors and cats.
Even though ermine inhabits areas with extremely cold winters, it remains active throughout the year.
Ermine lives in the underground burrows, inside the tree holes or in the crevices of rocks. It occupies territory of 20 hectares and lives solitary life most part of the year.
Ermines communicate via sense of smell. They use scent produced in the anal glands to mark the borders of their territory and to announce readiness to mate.
Mating season of ermines takes place during the spring and summer.
Female gives birth to 3 to 18 (usually 4 to 9) babies after pregnancy of 280 days. Kits are blind and helpless at birth. They depend on the mother's milk until the age of 12 weeks. Young ermines spend first year of their life with their mother. During that period, they learn basic survival skills.
Females reach sexual maturity early, at the age of 60 to 70 days. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of one year.
Even though ermines can survive up to 7 years in the wild, they rarely live more than one or two years.

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