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Stoat | Jispa, Himachal Pradesh | by soumyajit nandy
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Stoat | Jispa, Himachal Pradesh

This little cute creature is also known as the short-tailed weasel, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip. 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 does not dig its own burrows, instead using the burrows and nest chambers of the rodents it kills. The skins and underfur of rodent prey are used to line the nest chamber. The nest chamber is sometimes located in seemingly unsuitable places, such as among logs piled against the walls of houses. The stoat also inhabits old and rotting stumps, under tree roots, in heaps of brushwood, haystacks, in bog hummocks, in the cracks of vacant mud buildings, in rock piles, rock clefts, and even in magpie nests.

We encountered this cute but formidable predator very near to our resort in Jispa, well within the human habitation. If threatened they attack human beings by biting on the calf muscle!

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Taken in August 2013