Snow Weasel

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Snow Weasel


(Mustek nivalis), also short-tailed weasel and common weasel, a predatory mammal of the family Mustelidae. It is one of the smallest predators, with a body length of 13–26 cm, a tail length of 1.4–9 cm, and a weight of 30–250 g. It is smaller in northern regions and larger in southern regions. The body is slender and very flexible. The fur is dense but short. The summer coloring is yellowish brown above and white below. In the winter the fur becomes completely white, except for weasels in the south.

The snow weasel is distributed in Europe, Asia (except in the south), and North America. In the USSR it is distributed almost everywhere. Its habitats are varied—from forests to tundras, deserts, and mountains—and it is even found in villages. The snow weasel feeds on small rodents, which it hunts by entering their burrows. It reproduces year-round; there are three to nine offspring in a litter. Snow weasels are beneficial because they destroy harmful rodents. Their fur is of little value.


Mleklopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967. Page 643.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Consider, in particular, the least weasel, known in the Old World as the common weasel or snow weasel. It is the smallest of all known carnivores--some 10,000 times smaller than the Alaskan brown bear.