The long-tailed weasel is the only species of weasel that occurs in Arizona. It is readily identifiable by its dark brown coat and orangish underparts. Some white is often present on the head, and some animals may turn all white in winter. Male weasels are larger than the females, the animals ranging in length from 8 to 10½ inches with the black-tipped tail adding another 4 to 6 inches. Weights range from 7 to12 ounces for males and from 3 to 7 ounces for females. Voice is a high-pitched shriek.
Weasels in Arizona are largely restricted to high elevation wooded areas such as the Kaibab Plateau, Mogollon Rim, Chuska-Lukachukai mountains, and southern Arizona’s sky-islands.
Weasels are voracious predators, taking cottontail rabbits, hares, and rodents much larger than themselves. They also take birds, snakes, and lizards.
Weasels breed in midsummer, but, because of delayed implantation, the four to eight young are not born until the following spring. Usually nests in old burrows or under rock piles and other debris.
Hunting and Trapping History
The number of weasels trapped in Arizona is insignificant. Due to the animal’s limited distribution, small pelt, and low value it is doubtful they will ever become desired by trappers.