8-10″ long. 5-8 ounces
Signs of their presence:
Seeing the animal
Sounds: Loud chirping sounds or low trilling sounds, like a whistle
Scat: thin and long pellets. The pellets will look twisted at each end
Odor: An odor similar to the skunk but not as strong
Carnivores. Weasels will mainly eat small rodents and rabbits. They’ll also eat insects, worms, snakes and frogs. They are also known to raid bird nests and eat birds.
Typical activity patterns:
Social style: Solitary excluding breeding season.
Daily activity: Mainly nocturnal, however they are active during the day
In Illinois weasels can be found throughout the state, mainly in woodlands, thickets, or rocky areas.
Habitat: Prefer rocky or wooded areas that are not dense, open woodland. They can be found in crop fields and small wooded areas. They typically den in hollow logs, rock piles, or abandon buildings such as barns.
Territory and home range: Male weasel’s territory will overlap with female territories but never with other male territories. They will become aggressive and attack any male intruders that come into their home range. Some weasels territories can be up to 40 acres.
Pair bonding style: Polygamous. Males do not help raise the young
Breeding Dates: July-August. Gestation takes around 7 months, due to delayed implantation.
Litter Size: 6-9 young on average. Sometimes up to 12 young
Birthing Period: March or early April
Weaning Dates: around 36 days
Amount of time young remain with parent beyond weaning date: another month and a half. The young leave when they are around two months old
Common nuisance situations:
Time of year: Any time of year.
What are they doing?
They get into poultry houses and kill the birds
Killing pet rabbits or hamsters
Legal status in Illinois:
Protected. Weasels are a protected furbearing species that may be taken during the set trapping season.
If a weasel is damaging your property you must receive an animal removal permit from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources district wildlife biologist before removing the animal.
Exclude them from poultry houses:
Close off any holes that are 1” or greater. Use ½” mesh cloth. Or wire mesh to cover the holes
Secure the doors at night
Bury the fence 6 inches into the ground to prevent the weasel from squeezing under it
Use wire mesh fencing that weasels cannot squeeze through the holes
Startle the weasel:
Set up a motion activated sprinkler. Set it up where the weasel is gaining access to the vulnerable area such as a hole in the fence or entryway into a barn
Do not stack wood against the barn or house
Remove low hanging branches on brush and shrubs
Keep the weeds and grass around poultry houses and rabbit pens well trimmed
Remove rock and brush piles from the yard
Remove food sources:
Properly dispose of livestock carcasses
Secure garbage with tight fitting lid
Exclude mice and other prey that weasels eat from your property. If there is not an abundant food sources weasels will move on.
Keep Weasels from Denning in barns:
Close doors when not using
Put wire mesh over holes to prevent entry
Weasels are curious animals and can be trapped relatively easily
If a weasel is in your house using a small cage trap is best
Set the trap near the wall or areas of cover
Bait the trap with fresh meat
Rat traps, only use larger snap traps as mouse traps will not kill weasels
Preferred killing methods:
Shooting, using a shotgun or a .22 caliber rifle
Acceptable killing methods:
Stunning and chest compression
Control strategies that don’t work particularly well or aren’t legal in Illinois:
Collect dog or cat hair and spread it around the area weasels frequent
Sprinkle red pepper flakes around the perimeter of the area you are trying to keep the weasels out of. The flakes will irritate any soft tissue it comes into contact with
Noisemakers may startle the weasel but won’t drive them off
For information on pesticides follow the link, https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/Pesticide-Use-And-Regulation.aspx