The Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata), or una Comadreja cola larga in Spanish, is a small agile mammal favoring habitats like open woodlands, riparian grasslands, and marshes. They like to build dens in rock crevices, brush piles, stump hollows, and abandoned burrows made by other animals. Mostly solitary, it is frequently active during the day as it’s a voracious forager and predator mostly feeding on small mammals like mice, rabbits, squirrels, and gophers.
They are very good climbers and swimmers, helping them escape from larger predators like foxes, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and birds of prey as well as domestic dogs and cats. Listen to this long-tailed weasel vocalization and see if you can hear one next time you go for a hike near a creek or marsh.
Did you know? Long-tailed weasel tails have a black tip at the end, helping to distinguish them from other weasel species.
To see more photos of the long-tailed weasel in southern California, visit the University of California, Irvine’s School of Biological Sciences.
PHOTO CREDIT: John C. Mitchell