Alpine Weasel

Alpine Weasel

 

(Mustek altaica), a mammal of the family Mustelidae; it occupies an intermediate position between the ermine and the Siberia weasel. The alpine weasel reaches a weight of 400 g. The body length reaches 31 cm, and the tail length reaches 15 cm. The body is flexible and low-slung. The general coloration of the short fur is yellowish; the head is brownish gray. The body is flexible and low-slung. The general coloration of the short fur is yellowish; the head is brownish gray. The coat does not turn white during the winter.

The alpine weasel is distributed throughout Asia except in the northern regions. Its range in the USSR includes Kazakhstan (near Lake Balkhash), Middle Asia, the Altai, Transbaikalia, and southern Primor’e. The mammal lives mainly in mountainous regions, inhabiting the burrows of rodents on rocky placers, in bottomlands, and in reed thickets. The mating period is from February to May. After a gestation period of 38 to 42 days, a litter containing as many as 13 young is born. The alpine weasel feeds on small rodents, birds, lizards, fishes, and insects. In some regions the mammal causes damage to the muskrat-raising industry. The mammal has little commercial value.

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